Thank You, Octopus
by Darren Farrell; illus. by the author
Preschool Dial 40 pp.
6/14 978-0-8037-3438-8 $16.99 g
“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.