Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Rotman's spectacular photographs of the octopus and other cephalopods, accompanied by Cerullo's well-written text, brings the mystery of this oft maligned "sea monster" to the printed page. Physical descriptions, mating habits, feeding, and defense mechanisms are presented for the octopus as well as for the squid, chambered nautilus, and cuttlefish. It is filled with factual information to help students-did you know there is only one really deadly octopus, the blue-ringed octopus of the South Pacific. Cerullo reveals that octopi are gentle and intelligent creatures who would rather flee from an intruder than attack. Glossary, bibliography, and index.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up--Opening with the escape of a giant North Pacific octopus from its aquarium tank, the author fascinates readers as she informs them about this amazing creature and its smaller relatives. By taking readers underwater with Jim Cosgrove, a Canadian researcher with the Royal British Columbia Museum, Cerullo and Rotman give them an intimate look at this unusual, yet marvelous cephalopod. Scientists are intrigued by its intelligence, calling it the "primate of the sea," as it can solve problems and learn from its fellow octopuses. The female, who mates, conceives, and then cares for her eggs in a solitary den, never leaving them alone to hunt for food, thus starving herself to death, becomes an almost tragic figure in this telling. With outstanding full-color photographs, this author/photographer team offers a reverent look at this changing, secretive, creature of the sea. Andreu Llamas's Octopuses (Gareth Stevens, 1996) gives much the same information but in a less entertaining manner.--Kathleen McCabe, East Meadow Public Library, NY
The creators of Coral Reef (1996) use captivating science writing and striking full-color photographs to draw readers into the strange underwater world of the octopus.
Cerullo skillfully combines information on the anatomy, habits, and history of the octopus with interviews of contemporary scientists engaged in research on location in Victoria, British Columbia. Her prose is peppered with the odd facts children find so intriguing, e.g., the female octopus lays a string of up to 50,000 eggs and attaches them to a wall of her cave, where she stays to protect them until they hatch and "eventually starves to death." The photos, many taken underwater, extend the text and greatly enhance the book. Those with James Martin's fine Tentacles (1993) on their shelves will still want this one.