Cephalopod Books for kids


Staff member
Moderator (Staff)
Sep 4, 2006
Cape Coral, FL
Jana was always looking for books for Garrett as presents so anytime I found one for my grandchildren, I would pass on the name. Here is a list of the ones I found:

The Benefits of Being an Octopus 4th grade appropriate, review in Amazon link

Take Your Octopus to School Day
Review by Audrey Vernick on Project Muse
Sam’s school has wonderful special-occasion days for dress-up and celebration, and his pet Thurgood the octopus happily supports Sam’s efforts for Silly Hat Day, Super Sports-Fan Day, Space Travel Day, and so on. Unfortunately, “Sam’s costume was always really good—but someone else’s was always better,” and he’s getting tired of second place. Take Your Octopus to School Day is tailor-made for a Sam victory, especially when it turns out Thurgood’s only competition is a lowly squid, but then Thurgood disappears from his tank. Or so it appears, but then Caleb, the squid’s owner, teaches Sam about the excellence of cephalopod camouflage, and a shy Thurgood becomes visible once again. Vernick’s lively style brings humor and energy, and it’s clear that there are no bad guys in this classroom, just kids with substantial creative skills. The octopus-camouflage twist is an entertaining and science-friendly detail that may surprise some youngsters (have YouTube videos at the ready) while allowing others to share their octopus knowledge. Line and watercolor illustrations have the friendly vigor of Susan Meddaugh’s Martha books with an amiably hectic classroom vibe. Schoenbrun adds a multitude of jokes to the art, so kids will want to pore over them to catch details such as the enthusiastic participation of the class hamster and the teacher’s tactful amendation of the celebration to “Take Your Cephalopod to School Day.” Aside from exciting interest in octopuses, this could generate discussion of other possible unusual pets or just prompt some creative suggestions for silly special days.

The Octopus Scientists (Scientists in the Field Series)
(ages k-12 Kindle and hardback) Sy Montgomery 2015
Awarded Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2016 by National Science Teachers Association.
Join scientists as they travel to the island of Moorea to explore the fascinating mollusk, the octopus, in this vividly photographed story with detailed information about their findings—especially about their minds.

Giant Squid by Candace Fleming
(Ages 6 to 10. Kindle and hardback versions available)

Review from Buffalo News
In a world where it seems every inch has been explored and photographed and studied, the giant squid remains a mystery. And who better to explore this fascinating creature than the hugely talented Candace Fleming (author of fabulous biographies for children including “The Family Romanov”) and Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator Eric Rohmann? “Down, down, in the depths of the sunless sea, deep, deep in the cold, cold dark, creatures, strange and fearsome, lurk.” Fleming’s spare and poetic prose is accompanied by Rohmann’s brilliant depiction of the creature lurking in the inky blackness of the ocean depths in this tantalizing exploration of what we know, and don’t know, about this elusive creature.

Sept-opus and Septopus and the Secret of Captain Kidd's Cove
Jyotin Goel (age 8 and up - Available in Kindle format)
Introducing a brand new superhero, Rot8, the octopus with seven-and-ahalf limbs and a belt-full of amazing tools.
Rot8 lives with his octopus family and other water creatures in the Goa Sea World. All his friends other than Tumboo the turtle, his best friend, make fun of him because of his seven-and-a-half limbs. When an accident lands Rot8 in the lab of vet Reena Renaldo and the mad scientist Zubbu Zwami, he finds himself outfitted with a number of attachments for his half-limb. These amazing add-ons, combined with his phenomenal intelligence and amazing speed soon turn him from a not-quite octopus to a super octopus.

October the Octopus: A Huggable Concept Book About the Months of the Year
Matthew Van Fleet 2014 (ages preschool)
From the #1 New York Times bestselling children’s book creator Matthew Van Fleet.
A Huggable Concept Book About the Months of the Year
Matthew Van Fleet’s huggable multiconcept book introduces preschoolers to the months of the year, textures, colors, and fascinating sea creatures. The cleverly textured pages will tickle fingertips and funny bones while revealing clues to what October will catch next, from a shiny and gold friend to a surprise fold-out ending!
Animals of the Ocean: In Particular the Giant Squid Dr Doris Haggis-on-Whey, Benny Haggis-on-Whey 2006 (ages 9 and up)
Animals of the Ocean advances many heretofore unexplored discoveries and opinions, including squid dating dos and don'ts, why squid are not at all able to watch television in black and white, the ways in which people who don't know any better might think fish are not animals, the long-term effects of salt water on musical theater, and also the adventure of Gunther.

The Octopus Scientists (Scientists in the Field Series) Sy Montgomery ages 10-14)
Great author. Book incorporates photos and events during a research trip award-winning underwater photographer Keith Ellenbogen and one of today's top cephalopods scientists, Jennifer Mather.

IF AN OCTOPUS COULD TALK TO US Phil Lemley (teacher) Ages 2-18 Kindle only
Amazon Description: A rhyming picture book involving hypothetical scenarios of octopuses living on land. If Dr. Seuss and Dr. Dre were to write a book about octopuses, it would be this book. This book was designed so the reader can have an ongoing discussion about multiple subjects (Colors, Senses, Counting, Rhyming Words, etc.) as they work through the book. In between some of the rhyming pages you will find a "Fun Fact" page with information about octopuses. These pages also have the option to click a pop-up for extra information as well. Great for creative thinking yet still very informative!

Thank You, Octopus Darren Farrell; illus. by the author Preschool 40 pp.
“Bedtime, ahoy,” Octopus declares. His young shipmate isn’t thrilled. “Aw pickles.” Doting Octopus knows that a warm bath, cozy jammies, and a favorite story can help make the end-of-the-day transition easier, and he’s all prepared — in theory. That’s the gist of this book’s silly premise: Octopus talks the bedtime talk, but his best intentions wildly miss their mark every time. When he tells the boy he’s “made…a nice warm bath,” boy and readers take him at his word (“Thank you, Octopus”). Turn the page, though, and the illustration shows the two headed into a huge vat of egg salad. Readers will react as the boy does: “Gross! No thank you, Octopus.” And so it goes, with all reasonable offers (“Here, I’ll help you put your pj’s on”) leading to unintentionally goofy and unhelpful outcomes (“on the Statue of Liberty, that is”). The boy’s “Thank you” / “No thank you” volleys help set the pace of the narrative. No words are wasted in the spare speech-bubble text; Farrell’s detailed cartoon illustrations tell much of the story and cleverly foreshadow the antics. Repeat readings give young children a chance to spot the clues and anticipate jokes. This hilarious nautical comedy of errors will lure in unsuspecting listeners — right up to the boy’s neat turnabout at the end.
From the May/June 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

Cowboy & Octopus, Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith, Viking, Penguin Young Readers Group, 2007 (DWhatley comment - I am not crazy about this one because of the too common and incorrect speaking language as well a losing the point it tries to make about friendships - more of a read to me book needing adlib by the reader). Picture book with roughly 10 words per page.

The Vampire Squid, Claudia Gagliani 2014, Victoria Publications. Author is a 10 year old with an interest in the ocean. There is a short essay about the book and author here. About 12 words per page.

The Octopuppy by Martin McKenna 2013
Reviewed by Angie Schiavone
Absurd without being abstract, it tells the story of a young boy, Edgar, and his over-achieving pet Jarvis, an octopus the boy desperately wishes was a dog. The book brims with humour, from the odd-couple pairing of serious, blazer-and-tie-wearing Edgar with Jarvis the silly, slippery spectacle, to the concept of an octopus trying to pass as a dog (let alone a fruit-turban-topped octopus playing piano while juggling and ballet dancing). The minimal text means the expressive, fun illustrations deliver the punchlines. The message - to accept others as they are and see the value in that - is worthwhile, too.

Octopuses, Squids, and Cuttlefish (Animals in Order) by Trudi Strain Trueit 2003
A science book for young readers (age 7 most mentioned age in comments). Explains animal kingdom classifications and where coleoides fit in the tree of life in simple terms with full color images of the subject animals.

Oscar Octopus and the Fish Faces, Janet Allison Brown, Bright Sparks, 2000 (cute story of an octopus starting a band to keep unruley fish in order) about 20 words per page.

OCTRINA the OCTOPUS is AWESOME, Mary Jean Pollard October 2013, self-published through Xlibris
Readers can find out in "Octrina the Octopus is Awesome," a heartwarming illustrated book that teaches the lesson that nobody can be good at everything but everybody can be good at something.

Read more about Mary Jean Pollard Returns with 'Octrina the Octopus is Awesome' - BWWBooksWorld by www.broadwayworld.com

Vanamala and the Cephalopod by Shalini Srinivasan illustrated by Sebin Simon
(age 8) Notes from the author, Shalini Srinivasan: Why Cephalopods are the Best
For Sale:
One sister. Age: 8. Pesky. Likes cigarette sweet. Answers to the name of Pingu. Free! If you take her boopy too.

Dear Vanamala, I have taken your Sister and the Boopy.
Yours sincerely,
The Cephalopod

An Octopus is Amazing, Patricia Lauber, HarperCollins, 1990 (Fact book for the young reader with about 30 words every other page with illustration on facing page. The everyday reader - including most adults - will learn many basic facts about the octopus from this little book. Good report reference, highly recommend).

Welcome to the World of Octopuses, Diane Swanson, White Cap books, 2000 (elevated reading level over An Octopus is Amazing and styled with interesting side bars. Also a good reference for writing reports and contains additional information to the simple facts given in the book above).

Octopuses, Squids, and Cuttlefish, Trudi Strain Trueit, Franklin Watts - Division of Scolastic Inc, 2002 (Introduces the relationship between cephalopods and presents a one page report on 7 species of octopuses, 6 species of squid and two species of cuttlefish. Includes a Words to Know glossery).

Octopus and Squid, James C. Hunt, Monterey Bay Aquarium, 1996 (An introduction to octopuses and squid with mentions of nautilus and cuttlefishes, lots of great photos, high school level)

Octopuses: Eight-Armed Wonders, Caitlind L. Alexander, 2011
Octopuses: Eight-Armed Wonders: Educational Version Caitlind L. Alexander, 2011 (companion book for teachers)
(An octopus is an animal that lives in the sea. It has eight arms, a head and a body. It also has blue blood, and it squirts ink! This book will introduce you to octopuses and tell you many interesting facts about them, including: What are the two ways to say more than one octopus? What color is an octopus’ blood? What does an octopus eat? Can octopuses change their color?)

President Squid, Aaron Reynolds 2016 (K-3rd)
K-Gr 3-Squid realizes something very important-no giant squid has ever been president. He decides he will be the first one. After all, he has the right qualities for the office. Presidents wear ties, and he looks fabulous in a tie. Presidents have enormous houses, and his is "absolutely TITANIC!" He's also famous, is great at doing all the talking, and is big and bossy. But when he takes his presidency a bit too seriously, it is a little guy who shows him what being presidential is all about. This witty tale of an ego-driven squid who thinks the presidency is all about being the boss is pure satire, ripe for an election year. Varon's mixed-media cartoon art provides a colorful underwater locale complete with its own Mount Rushmore, sunken cruise ship, and array of quirky sea creatures. Large, bold typeface provides early readers opportunities to engage with the text, and the book would make an enjoyable read-aloud. VERDICT An amusing addition to most collections and a great discussion starter about leadership and politics.-Carol Connor, Cincinnati Public Schools, OHα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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Great list D, thanks!! I went in and added links to Amazon (including the TONMO affiliate ID :octocash:) for every link except Oscar Octopus and the Fish Faces, which I couldn't find.

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