Reviewed by Alyssa Katanic
I love stories that play with the idea of how animals came to be the way they are. Kipling’s Just So Stories are some favorites that my children and I often enjoy, so we were very interested to see how Yvonne Arroyo would tell the story of How The Octopus Got Eight Arms.
When Oscar Octopus met and married the shark, Sharkey McGhee, he had just two arms, which was just fine when Oscar only had one other to hold between them. Then they were blessed with eight children: four octopi and four sharks. Oscar enjoyed parenting and playing with his children until the day his wife was called away to take care of her sick mother. Daddy was on his own with the children for a few days, and he didn’t fare well with just his two arms to hold all eight of them. When Mom returned, she rushed her husband to the doctor! He was worn out, but the doctor knew what he needed. An operation and six extra arm attachments later, Oscar was a multi-tasking papa with an arm for each of his kiddos!
With six children of my own, I have often said that baby number three, and each thereafter, should come with an extra arm! Yvonne Arroyo must agree!
How the Octopus Got Eight Arms did not catch my children’s imagination as well as some other animal stories. They complained that an octopus would not marry a shark and thought that the idea was a bit too much; however, they did like the explanation that daddy needed more arms so that he could hug all of his babies at once. I guess that they could relate to that! The illustrations—colored-pencil drawings—were also just so-so.
Over all, Arroyo’s How the Octopus Got Eight Arms is an imaginative book with quite a bit of poetic license taken. How much your children enjoy it may depend on how literal they see the world and perhaps how many siblings they have.
Alyssa Katanic is a wife and homeschooling mother of 7 children under 11 years old. She loves reading and collecting great books to share with others and knows that one can never have too many!
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Outskirts Press, Inc. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.