| | Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures by Tricia Springstubb; illustrated by Elaheh Taherian What it’s about: Young Khalil and his boisterous family live upstairs from reserved old Mr. Hagerty. The two neighbors don’t seem particularly likely as friends, but they find common ground (literally) in their shared backyard.
Art alert: Layered multimedia art emphasizes both the sweetness and the whimsy of this intergenerational story.
| | Poor Little Guy by Elanna Allen Starring: an itsy-bitsy bespectacled fish and the outsized octopus who captures it.
What happens: The octopus toys with the little fish, and although its unhinged playfulness contains an undercurrent of threat, the balance of power between predator and prey isn’t exactly as it seems.
For fans of: the minimalist illustrations, dark wit, and expectation-defying twists in Jon Klassen’s This Is Not My Hat.
| | Octopuses One to Ten by Ellen Jackson; illustrated by Robin Page What it is: a collection of ten intriguing facts about octopuses, delivered in easy-to-understand rhymes and striking illustrations.
Did you know: that octopuses have blue blood and superior camouflage ability, as well as three hearts and nine brains?
Art alert: Textured and intricately detailed digital art creates an immersive experience for curious young readers, who are encouraged to make their own octopus art using the craft projects at the end of the book.
| | Inky's Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home by Sy Montgomery; illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford What it’s about: the real-life exploits of Inky, an octopus whose drive to explore led him to make a highly unusual exit from New Zealand’s National Aquarium.
Why kids might like it: It’s tough not to like this book’s clever cephalopod hero, and the abundance of fascinating facts will grab aspiring scientists.
About the author: Naturalist Sy Montgomery writes for readers of all ages – you might recognize her from her popular adult book The Soul of an Octopus.
| | Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall; illustrated by Benji Davis What it is: a delightfully off-kilter metafictional romp disguised as a how-to guide for writers.
What’s inside: Since “every story needs a character,” and this story stars a ukulele-strumming octopus. And since every character “needs to want something," the octopus resolves to build a purple spaceship made of glitter and waffles. You can imagine how outrageous things get after that...
Who it’s for: Budding storytellers may be inspired by Also an Octopus’ blend of absurdity and instruction.
Contact your librarian for more great books for ages 0-8!