Children's Literature (Jane Harrington)
This volume in the ‘Naturebooks’ marine life series will fascinate kids with one odd fact after another about the strange life of the octopus. An animal of extremes, the smallest octopus measures one inch long, and the largest is twenty feet from tentacle-tip to tentacle tip – a statistic which the author cleverly likens to the length of a school bus. While most octopuses are harmless, one actually excretes venom that is so powerful it can kill a person in less than two hours. Octopuses are color-changers, and can turn bright, wild colors (like purple) when they are angry. Some turn pale colors when they are frightened, or become spotted when they are eating. Though this book will no doubt be popular for pleasure reading, it will also serve as a great research tool for budding marine scientists. The text is well-written, with a challenging vocabulary presented in an age-appropriate context. The photographs, which are opposite each page of text throughout, are from all over the world, and display excellent examples of many of the concepts in the book. Kids will love the picture of the Japanese octopus releasing clouds of black ink, and will be intrigued by the photographs showing camouflage and mimicry. Teachers and young researchers will also make good use of the last page of the book, which includes a simple glossary, an index and a list of websites.
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