Why everyone should have an octopus
All I Want is an Octopus by Tracy Gunaratnam and Valentina Fontana, Maverick Books
Looking for a helper who could make you laugh, style your hair, wash the car, run your bath, paint the house AND give wonderful cuddles? It sounds like you need an octopus... All I Want is an Octopus is a whimsical and humorous celebration of the magic of owning a pet. A boy who longs for an octopus lists all the advantages of owning one as he tries to persuade his parents to permit it. Perhaps his Gran will be more open to the idea, or maybe Gran will have some animal aspirations of her own.
A lively, rhyming text and animated illustrations with a gorgeous palette make this an entertaining and eye-catching read. The octopus looks so amusing in all the different scenarios and its facial expressions are hilarious. The family dynamic is endearing and relatable. I love how Dad passes the son's query on to Mum, who in turn says to ask Gran, and the inclusion of familiar refrains, 'but Daaaaaaaaaad!' and 'but Muuuuuuuuum!' too.
The illustrations are bright and striking with lots of details and an interesting use of colour and pattern. The jokes are carried into the endpapers and title pages with clever touches like 'This book belongs to...' reading 'This octopus belongs to...' instead. It’s fantastic to see so much diversity, with a wide range of ethnicities represented and a family with brown skin at the centre of the story. All I Want is an Octopus is enormous fun to read aloud and ideal for a group setting where it’s guaranteed to get plenty of laughs.
About the author:
Tracy Gunaratnam lives in London near her grown-up sons who ignited her passion for inventing stories. When not writing, Tracy can be found making novelty cakes or decorating.
About the illustrator:
Valentina Fontana is an Italian artist who studied art in Florence. She works digitally and traditionally and loves mixing techniques to try and find new, magical ways to tell stories.
A huge thank you to the lovely people in Maverick Books for sharing this story with us - all opinions expressed are our own.