Gentle Giant Octopus
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The female Giant Octopus is a gentle creature intent on finding a cave den where she will lay her eggs only once. Wallace tells the story of the octupus’s journey using the same powerful imagery that made her Think of an Eel so engaging. The octopus is ‘huge like a spaceship’ and has long tentacles that ‘fly like ribbons behind her’. Intent on her last quest ‘her body stretches like toffee’ over the sea bed. Young readers of about 4-7 will get a real sense of what it might be like to have a flexible body that can be squeezed through the tiniest of holes. Text to tell the story with smaller print to provide a wealth of detailed information work well here and the interaction between text and illustration is mutually enriching. Bostock creates fascinating pictures of the octopus sinking into the sea bed ‘like a huge rubber flower’ and of the huge quantity of eggs ‘hanging like grapes on a string’ from the cave den roof. The final image shows the contrast between the female octopus shrinking in the shadows as the babies, squirming and wriggling with life, swim up from their egg sacs.