Who hasn’t occasionally wished for more than two hands (or arms) in order to simultaneously accomplish all that one needs to?
In a rhyming response to Little Crab’s query, the colorful, friendly octopus star of this picture book demonstrates that he can manage to pull off quite a few impressive feats with his numerous appendages—though here, our cephalopod friend is usually shown performing only one task at a time, using each arm merely to enhance or speed up what he’s doing. Think how he could multitask. Not surprisingly, the octopus engages in all sorts of humanlike activities, including cooking, writing, making music, playing games, getting dressed—and, most important for conveying the point of the story, hugging a forlorn octopus child. Sharp-eyed youngsters will notice that Little Crab (in actuality, prey for an octopus) effects a happy ending of its own by astutely noticing what’s troubling the toddler and devising a solution. Still, the real, intended warm message drifts home: All arms are made to reach out and draw someone in for a loving embrace. The story is sweet, though unoriginal, with verses that don’t stand out. The watercolor paintings are colorful and full of lively energy.
Though a little on the bland side, this effort should reassure little ones resting in the human arms of favorite story readers. (Picture book. 2-5)