Also an Octopus: Or, a Little Bit of Nothing
Also an Octopus: Or, a Little Bit of Nothing
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Annotation: A ukulele-playing octopus demonstrates the many imaginative things an octopus might want, including traveling to faraway galaxies in a purple spaceship built out of soda cans, glitter and waffles alongside a rocket scientist bunny sidekick.
Catalog Number: #128786
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2016
Edition Date: 2016
Illustrator: Davies, Benji,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-7636-7084-7
ISBN 13: 978-0-7636-7084-9
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2015937118
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Do you know what it takes to create a story? This picture book walks readers through the process by introducing key story elements, like a main character, a desire, an obstacle, and an ending; but don't be fooled into thinking this is some dull composition guide. It is, in fact, brimming with ridiculous whimsy d glitter and waffles. The narrator directly addresses the reader in an instructive tone that is undermined by silly examples and comical artwork. Saturated pages form colorful backdrops to the printlike illustrations, where the figures interact with the narrator, as well as with one another. After cycling through a couple of potential main characters (girl, adorable bunny), the narrator settles on a ukulele-playing octopus who happens to want an "awesome shining purple spaceship." Unfortunately, octopuses aren't very good at building spaceships. As complications pile up, the narrator offers more prompts until, almost magically, the story's resolution "begins to take shape." Funny and engaging, this book has an interactive quality that will inspire kids to imagine a story of their own.
Publishers Weekly
Debut author Tokuda-Hall offers a capricious crash course in the elements and boundless possibilities of story. -Every story starts the same way... with nothing,- explains an unseen narrator. -And every story needs a character. Any character you can imagine!- The narrator promptly conjures a ukulele-playing octopus who, for a story to materialize, -needs to want something.- Tokuda-Hall subtly introduces concepts like conflict and emotional stakes as the octopus unsuccessfully attempts to build a spaceship from soda cans, umbrellas, glitter, and waffles (-I-m not really qualified to build a spaceship,- quips the bewildered protagonist). Eventually, the octopus-s ukulele-strumming attracts friends and rocket scientists, who help propel the story to a resolution. What happens next, the author tells readers, is -up to you! When one story ends, it-s just making room for another story to begin.- Davies-s (Grandad-s Island) freewheeling digital art keeps pace with the encouraging narration, and the concluding image-of a rocket scientist water-skiing atop a rhino while wearing a colander on her head-cements the idea that, when it comes to storytelling, anything is possible. Ages 3-7. Author-s agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. Illustrator-s agent: Vicki Willden-Lebrecht, Bright Literary. (Oct.)

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3&12; "Every story starts the same way&30;with nothing." So begins this picture book, which doubles as an encouraging exercise in story development. Moving on from nothing, the narrator says that every story needs a character, and after presenting a couple of possibilities (a little girl, a bunny), it settles on an octopus who plays the ukulele. From there, the narrator explores the concept of plot: "But in order for it to be a story, and not just an octopus, that octopus needs to want something." This particular octopus wants a spaceship, a complicated desire that sets the stage for plenty of comedy and the introduction of more characters (including the girl, the bunny, and some rocket scientists). The bubbly, appealing art has punchy humor and works as an ongoing conversation with the narration, bringing the fumbling but exciting progress of crafting a new story to life. As the book ends, the visuals move the plot in a multitude of new directions, but the text leaves everything open-ended, concluding with encouragement for readers to take it from there. The final page shows one of the rocket scientists wielding a wrench and sporting a colander on her head as she rides a water-skiing rhinoceros off the right-hand page into whatever new plot readers can dream up for her. VERDICT This entertaining read-aloud will jump-start imaginations and create opportunities for thinking about existing tales as well as for making new ones.&12; Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (9/1/16)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (10/1/16)
Word Count: 427
Reading Level: 2.8
Interest Level: P-2
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.8 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 190152 / grade: Lower Grades
Guided Reading Level: M
Fountas & Pinnell: M

A 2017 Parent's Choice Gold Award Winner: Picture Books

Even the most totally awesome story starts with a little bit of nothing. What happens next is up to you! A delightfully meta picture book that will set imaginations soaring.

It begins with an octopus who plays the ukulele. Since this is a story, the octopus has to want something—maybe to travel to faraway galaxies in a totally awesome purple spaceship. Then the octopus sets out to build a spaceship out of soda cans, glue, umbrellas, glitter, and waffles. OK, maybe the octopus needs some help, like from an adorable bunny friend, and maybe that bunny turns out to be . . . a rocket scientist? (Probably not.) But could something even more amazing come to pass? Debut author Maggie Tokuda-Hall, with the help of illustrator Benji Davies, sets up an endearingly funny story, then hands the baton to readers, who will be more than primed to take it away.

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