Saturday, June 30, 2018

Cephalopod Houdini! Inky's Great Escape: The Incredible (and Mostly True) Story of an Octopus Escape) by Casey Lyall

Inky's escape exploits were legendary at the aquarium where he resides. During his days in the deep sea, he was already a deep-sea escape artist extraordinaire.

He'd slithered his way out of every trap ever invented and lived to tell the tale.

And Inky is quite the raconteur, telling his escape stores with perhaps a soupcon of exaggeration. Taking a luxury respite at the local aquarium, Inky regales his tank mate Blotchy during their nightly card games with his stories of daring getaways.

So one night, Blotchy challenges Inky to put his money where his mouth is.

"I bet you can't escape from HERE!"

Inky takes Blotchy's bet, and eventually one of the keepers slips up and leaves the lid a little bit ajar on their tank. Inky takes advantage of the opening. He lifts the lid, squeezes through the opening, and works his way out and down onto the floor of the exhibit hall. He offers Blotchy a chance to go with him, but Blotchy declines.

"Tomorrow's Fondue Friday. I don't want to miss that."

"I'm going to make cephalopod history!" Inky brags.

Inky oozes across the floor, leaving a slightly slippery trail behind him until he finds a drain in the tile floor which finally empties into--the ocean.

It's back home again in Oceania for Inky, where he goes where he will and sleeps in the deep. But... sometimes he gets lonesome for his old pal Blotchy and sneaks back into the aquarium for a card game and a chance to tell some stories of his Greatest Ingenious Escape!

It is indeed true that captive octopi are indeed ingenuous escape artists, as their aquatic keepers will tell us, and Casey Lyall's Inky's Great Escape: The Incredible (and Mostly True) Story of an Octopus Escape has some fun embellishing the true story of the octopus who indeed escaped from the New Zealand Aquarium, and artist Sebastia Serra's illustrations conspire by providing classic comic strip-style characters for this semi-true but not so serious story. As Kirkus Reviews puts it, "a joyful but misleading re-creation of a fabulous feat."

For a less "misleading" version of this amazing but true story, read my review of another lively re-telling, Inky the Octopus: Bound for Glory, here.


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