Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Escape Artiste! Inky the Octopus (Bound for Glory) by Erin Guendelsberger

Inky gets nothing but high-status chow in his tank in the aquarium. He loves feasting on lobster, and the keepers don't scrimp on the shrimp!

But still--

I know I have a good life.
And should want for nothing more.
But something tugs at my curious heart
That I simply can't ignore.

It's the call of the wild, the call of the wild blue yonder, that great ocean out there, that is.

And one night, when the aquarium is dark, he gets his chance....

What's this? Tonight it seems
My tank lid is ajar.
This could be my one chance for change.
Dare I hope that far?

Bidding his tank mate Blotchy adieu, Inky escapes to see what's new. The exhibit area looks different from down below. It's easy for his tentacles to pull him along the wooden floor, and Inky is taking it all in when he spots something different. It is a round metal thing in the floor with lots of little holes. Inky pokes a tentacle down one hole and gets a good gripe on it.

He can lift the whole thing right up! And there--right in front of his eyes--is a hole with the smell of sea rising up out of it. Inky wastes no time. He squeezes himself into the drainpipe and slips down, down, down...

At last I'm free.
Long may I journey the splendid sea.

Erin Guendelsberger's rhyming account of the adventures of the famous tentacled escape artist, Inky the Octopus: Bound for Glory(Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky, 2018) tells the true story of the octopus who opted out of exhibit status in the New Zealand Aquarium. The octopus is a clever creature known to make the most of the smallest opening in search of freedom, and the author's rhyming couplets add to the fun of this true-life octopus escapade. Artist David Leonard comes through with charming illustrations of his famed cephalopod on the lam, his little hobo bag in tow, and adds lots of skillfully portrayed sea creatures, as Inky finds his way to a colorful South Pacific reef just in time to try out the shrimp at the sand bar.

Author Guendelsberger adds an appendix with information about the real Inky and accounts of other famous octopuses whose escapes from their tanks keep their keepers on their toes. Says School Library Journal, "The colors and shapes used to depict the marine life create a great deal of personality ... and the back matter provides additional information about octopodes as well and their real-life aquarium high jinks."

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