Friday, December 30, 2016

Written by Sy Montgomery
Photographs by Keith Ellengoben
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015.  Informational.

Prepare to be amazed by the remarkable characteristics of the octopus, one of the most bizarre creatures of the sea.  Four scientists of varying research backgrounds join up in search of the elusive and highly intelligent Octopus cyanea.  As the team searches for viable research sites, their days are filled with encouraging clues and frustrating setbacks.  Montgomery skillfully grabs and  maintains reader attention throughout a two-week adventure in the exotic South Pacific.

Surprising facts are interspersed throughout that will appeal both to tweens who love science, as well as those who are new to the genre.  Who knew that octopuses have blue blood and can recognize human faces?  Detailed descriptions of daily dives and encounters with alien-like creatures are captivating.  A sense of urgency in a race against the project clock propels the story's pacing.  Ellengoben's striking photographs effortlessly display the majesty of these intriguing sea creatures.  Significant additions include a selected bibliography for further reading and a comprehensive index.  A fascinating look at this incredible eight-legged friend!

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