Cowboy & Octopus
Cowboy & Octopus
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Annotation: Although Cowboy and Octopus have different opinions about beans and knock-knock jokes, their friendship endures.
Catalog Number: #21980
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: 2007
Illustrator: Smith, Lane,
Pages: 40
Availability: Indefinitely Out of Stock
ISBN: Publisher: 0-670-91058-9 Perma-Bound: 0-605-16658-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-670-91058-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-16658-5
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2007001561
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
The masters of goofy, Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, are back to relate the adventures of two unlikely friends in seven very brief stories. Cowboy and Octopus become friends and shake hands and shake hands and shake hands, help each other, eat beans, try out scary Halloween costumes, disagree on what constitutes a beautiful day, enjoy a joke together, and learn about truth and friendship. The camaraderie between Cowboy and Octopus is reminiscent of that between Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad, and the message, if there is one, is that silliness is good. Attractive, clever illustrations are executed in mixed media collages, with Cowboy and Octopus as cutouts placed against various backdrops created with paper designs and other cutouts of objects depicted in photos and vintage drawings. Children will race through the short text, but pause to ponder the carefully crafted collages. They will enjoy the antics and recognize the small sacrifices one must make to maintain a valued friendship.
Kirkus Reviews
The Dynamic Duo set a new standard for unlikely pals in seven mini-tales on the ins and outs—and responsibilities—of buddyhood. The friendship that develops between bulbous blue Octopus and dim-bulb Cowboy begins when Octopus demonstrates that a seesaw works so much better with someone at each end. It survives every ensuing challenge, from a multi-course dinner of disgusting (to Octopus) beans and bacon, bacon and beans and just plain beans to Cowboy's honest, if undiplomatic, opinion that Octopus's new hat "looks like something my horse dropped behind him." Paper-doll cut-outs, the square-jawed cowboy and rubbery octopus almost never change, despite being placed in wildly varied settings assembled from clipped photos, newspaper and wallpaper. And despite vast differences between the retiring, mannerly mollusk and his extroverted bud, the two get along famously. How? It's usually clear enough, but for truly clueless readers, Octopus is generally good for a pithy summation. (Picture book. 6-8)
Publishers Weekly

Scieszka and Smith (Math Curse) unpack a bin of old toys and comics for this characteristically oddball entry. Their title page, which depicts a pair of scissors beside a sheet of “Western Heroes” paper dolls and an undersea comic book, reveals the origins of Cowboy and Octopus—both are paper cutouts that pose the same way throughout this episodic volume. Blond, cinematic Cowboy wears pressed jeans tucked into fancy boots and a fringed paisley shirt suitable for the rodeo. Sky-blue Octopus, with a tangle of tentacles, is shaded with pre-digital lavender dots. After cooperating to ride a seesaw, they “shake hands, and shake hands, and shake hands” a total of eight times, cementing their friendship. Octopus wears a doily and tiara for a Halloween costume, proclaiming himself the tooth fairy (“Now that’s scary,” Cowboy quips) and attempts to tell Cowboy a knock-knock joke (“Ain’t nobody there!” the dude protests). At “Chow Time,” Cowboy cooks “Beans and Bacon, Bacon and Beans, and just plain Beans... with a little bit of bacon” for Octopus; the cephalopod, who likes neither, “licks one bean” because “Cowboy has worked so hard just for him.” Greeting-card sentiments about friendship, punctuated by classic cowboy-isms dot the text. Those who love Scieszka and Smith’s absurd humor will get the joke, but this is a lesser entry in the pair’s pantheon. All ages. (Sept.)

School Library Journal
Gr 1-5-Picture-book readers meet an unlikely pair of friends here: a refined octopus and a cowboy who is a little rough around the edges. The two are actually paper cutouts: the title page reveals that Cowboy has been snipped from a Western Heroes paper-doll book and Octopus from a comic strip. Seven hilarious short stories are presented, beginning with the origin of the friendship, in which Cowboy is confused about a teeter-totter that doesn't seem to work until Octopus "repairs" it by sitting on the opposite end, and concluding with the pair gazing into the sunset of a picture postcard. All of the vignettes are silly and perfectly absurd; Scieszka captures a childlike dialogic cadence and ends the pieces with the sudden, agreeable solutions to problems that kids often come up with. Incorporating mid-20th-century illustrations, graphic art, newspaper clippings, and toys, the collage and mixed-media artwork perfectly matches the wacky text. The colors are slightly muted and the paper appears to have yellowed with age. The delightful paper protagonists never change poses, though Smith occasionally dresses them in zany paper hats and silly costumes, and their static nature adds to the humor. Share this title with devotees of Scieszka's and Smith's other collaborations and with fans of Mini Grey's Traction Man Is Here! (Knopf, 2005). Cowboy and Octopus prove that we all get by with a little help from our friends.-Shawn Brommer, South Central Library System, Madison, WI Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Word Count: 541
Reading Level: 2.2
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 2.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 115982 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:1.8 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q41542
Lexile: AD470L

Peanut butter and jelly. George and Martha. Frog and Toad. Cowboy and . . . Octopus? Yes, that’s right. Meet Cowboy and Octopus—the next great pair to become a household name. Cowboy likes beans’n’bacon and bacon’n’beans. Octopus eats raw seafood. Octopus prefers knock-knock jokes, but Cowboy doesn’t get them. How will these two ever be friends?

Illustrated in funky, vintage-style cut-outs and told in several humorous mini-stories, the famous Stinky Cheese Man duo of Scieszka and Smith have created sweet—and of course hilarious—tales of an unlikely friendship.

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