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EVEN AN OCTOPUS NEEDS A HOME by Irene Kelly

EVEN AN OCTOPUS NEEDS A HOME

By Irene Kelly (Author) , Irene Kelly (Illustrator)

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2235-7
Publisher: Holiday House

Building on her successful Even an Ostrich Needs a Nest (2009), Kelly expands the concept to describe how others in the animal world make and find safe places for rest, safety and rearing their young.

From chimpanzees building temporary sleeping platforms each night to male Siamese fighting fish hiding eggs in a mass of bubbles, the author-illustrator offers a wide variety of examples. These are loosely organized by type: A tree house, tower, lodge, cave, burrow or bubble can serve as a temporary or permanent home. It might even be floating or mobile. Illustrations done in watercolor, gouache, pen and ink surround an informal narrative set in wavy lines on each page. There are a few missteps: The bee’s comb has both honey and larvae, although brood combs are usually separate from honey combs. Text about bats sleeping in caves is illustrated with flying fox bats hanging from trees. Careful reading reveals that the nests, cells, tunnels and dens the author describes are used for nightly beds, places for hatching eggs and raising families or protective hideaways, but not always all three. The conclusion, calling these places where animals “live,” supports a common misunderstanding of animal behavior.

Animals do not have “homes” as humans do. For the intended audience that cozy connection is an unfortunate oversimplification in an otherwise appealing title. (Informational picture book. 5-9)