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Octopuses: Books For Kids

Looking for a list of the best children's books about octopuses?

Children’s literature has many notable options when it comes to octopuses. To help you find the right books for you and your young reader, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids books about octopuses.

Our list includes board books and picture books. Board books are best for babies and toddlers from ages newborn to 2 or 3. Picture books are generally great options for toddlers and for preschool and kindergarten age children. Picture books are especially enjoyable for adults to read aloud with young kids. You can filter to sort by the best book type for your kid.

When it comes to children’s stories about octopuses, there are a variety of titles. This list covers everything, from classics like Squid and Octopus to popular sellers like Poor Little Guy to some of our favorite hidden gems like Inky’s Amazing Escape.

We hope this list of kids books about octopuses can be a helpful resource for parents, teachers, and others searching for a new book! As you explore the list, please comment below to let us know what books you would add.

Inky's Amazing Escape
Written by Sy Montgomery & illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Learn all about Inky the Octopus, an international sensation known for escaping from the New Zealand aquarium in April 2016, in this adorable picture book from National Book Award nominee and octopus lover Sy Montgomery. Inky had been at the New Zealand aquarium since 2014 after being taken in by a fisherman who found him at sea. Inky had been getting used to his new environment, but the staff quickly figured out that he had to be kept amused or he would get bored. Then one night in 2016 Inky, about the size of a basketball, decided he’d had enough. He slithered eight feet across the floor and down a drainpipe more than 160 feet long to his home in the sea. Acclaimed author Sy Montogmery reminds readers that Inky didn’t escape—but instead, like the curious animal he is, wanted to explore the rest of the vast ocean he called his home.

Squid and Octopus
Written & illustrated by Tao Nyeu
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Four separate stories celebrate the many-legged friendship between Squid and Octopus as they disagree over how to stay warm, encourage each other, and fret over the contents of a fortune cookie.

Octopuses One to Ten
Written by Ellen Jackson & illustrated by Robin Page
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

“A fascinating counting journey through the amazing and mysterious world of octopuses”—

Fourteen Animals (That Are Definitely Not an Octopus)
Written & illustrated by Gabriel Pyle
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

In this hilarious book of animals, artist Gabe Pyle presents sixteen beloved animals who are definitely not an octopus—or are they? Observant youngsters will love uncovering each octopus cleverly disguised in 16 animals’ shapes. Based on the immensely popular threadless t-shirt, 16 Animals (that Definitely Aren’t an Octopus) is a fresh, witty romp through the animal kingdom that even adults will find hard to resist.

Mabel: A Mermaid Fable
Written & illustrated by Rowboat Watkins
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

A lovely and laugh-out-loud picture book from the award-winning author of Rude Cakes and Most Marshmallows.

A silly read-aloud tale for kids about being yourself! Mabel isn’t like the other mermaids. Lucky isn’t like the other octopuses. But when they find each other, they discover that true friendship isn’t about how you look, and that sometimes what we are searching for is right under our noses.

The inimitable Rowboat Watkins is back with another humorous tale about being true to yourself.

• A delightful, inspiring read-aloud book for toddlers that celebrates gender diversity and difference • Stylish, accessible art brings this story of being true to yourself to hilarious life. • Rowboat Watkins is a 2010 Sendak Fellow and Ezra Jack Keats honoree.

Young readers of Julian Is a Mermaid, Mary Wears What She Wants, and Exclamation Mark will find much to love in this tale that celebrates individuality and acceptance.

  • The Octopuppy - Can the OCTOPUPPY be the perfect pet? Edgar wanted a dog. Instead, he got an octopus named Jarvis. Jarvis is brilliant and does his best to act like the dog Edgar wants, but nothing he does is good enough to please Edgar. Ultimately, Edgar recognizes that while Jarvis might not be the dog he wanted, he is special in his own endearing way.

  • Also an Octopus - Even the most totally awesome story starts with a little bit of nothing. What happens next is up to you! A delightfully meta picture book that will set imaginations soaring. It begins with an octopus who plays the ukulele. Since this is a story, the octopus has to want something—maybe to travel to faraway galaxies in a totally awesome purple spaceship. Then the octopus sets out to build a spaceship out of soda cans, glue, umbrellas, glitter, and waffles. OK, maybe the octopus needs some help, like from an adorable bunny friend, and maybe that bunny turns out to be . . . a rocket scientist? (Probably not.) But could something even more amazing come to pass? Debut author Maggie Tokuda-Hall, with the help of illustrator Benji Davies, sets up an endearingly funny story, then hands the baton to readers, who will be more than primed to take it away.

  • Love, Agnes: Postcards from an Octopus - Agnes has a beak that can crush bones and arms and stretch wide as a car―but that doesn’t make her a monster! After she comes across a postcard, Agnes, a giant Pacific octopus, strikes up a correspondence with various other creatures below―and above―the waves. Readers will delight in this unlikely introduction to the octopus life cycle.

  • Hello My Name Is . . . - A new creature is added to the deep-sea tank, but what will they call this flapjack octopus? Includes an author’s note on Adorabilis and its name.

Inky the Octopus
Written & illustrated by Erin Guendelsberger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-10

Out of this tank, I must be free.I must explore the open sea!Inky the octopus is bored with aquarium life and wants to escape to the ocean! But just how can an octopus in a tank get to the open seas? Find out in Inky the Octopus, the only tale of the mischievous octopus to be officially endorsed by the National Aquarium of New Zealand.

Poor Little Guy
Written & illustrated by Elanna Allen
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

What do you do when you’re so tiny that the bigger ocean creatures think you might even taste adorable? An itsy-bitsy, glasses-wearing fish is minding his own business when a playful (and hungry) octopus snatches him right up. Luckily, this poor little guy is not quite as innocent as he seems…and he has a BIG surprise up his sleeve!

Octopus Stew
Written & illustrated by Eric Velasquez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

What do you do when an octopus captures Grandma? Put on your superhero cape and rescue her! Two stories in one from award-winning Afro-Latino artist Eric Velasquez.

The octopus Grandma is cooking has grown to titanic proportions. “¡Tenga cuidado!” Ramsey shouts. “Be careful!” But it’s too late. The octopus traps Grandma!

Ramsey uses both art and intellect to free his beloved abuela.

Then the story takes a surprising twist. And it can be read two ways. Open the fold-out pages to find Ramsey telling a story to his family. Keep the pages folded, and Ramsey’s octopus adventure is real.

This beautifully illustrated picture book, drawn from the author’s childhood memories, celebrates creativity, heroism, family, grandmothers, grandsons, Puerto Rican food, Latinx culture and more.

Hunt for the Octo-shark
Written by Michael Anthony Steele & illustrated by Pauline Reeves
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

When the rest of the Nearly Fearless Monkey Pirates don’t believe that octo-sharks are real, Captain Banana Beard insists they go on a hunt for the mythical creature. Will the crew discover anything more than trouble in this swashbuckling adventure?

Follow Me!
Written by Bethany Roberts & illustrated by Diane Greenseid
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-86

When Octopus Mum takes her eight children on a special trip under the sea, the little octopuses blow bubbles with parrot fish, dance with shrimp, and play hide-and-seek with angelfish, eventually arriving safely at a surprise destination.

  • Octopus Alone - Octopus loves living on the busy reef under the sea. From her cozy cave, she can see clown fish, and sea turtles, and little butterflies swimming by. She especially loves watching the seahorses having fun, wiggling and twirling. Sometimes she will play with them, but occasionally Octopus just wants to be alone, somewhere quiet, and not so busy. So one day, she swims far, far beyond the reef and finds another cozy cave, only here she is perfectly, wonderfully alone. It is exactly what she wanted . . . until she’s ready to go back home to be with her friends. As she did in Little Owl’s Night, Divya Srinivasan shows children a wonderful part of the natural world in a very warm-hearted way.

  • Inky's Great Escape - Inky, worn out from his exciting life in the ocean, has retired to the aquarium. There he quietly regales his tank mate Blotchy with tales of his past adventures. Then Blotchy dares Inky to make one more daring escape. Will Inky succeed?

  • The Mermaid - A striking under-the-sea version of Goldilocks with bonus storytelling in the borders, as only Jan Brett could create. When Kiniro, a young mermaid, comes upon a gorgeous house made of seashells and coral, she is so curious that she goes inside. She’s thrilled to find a just-right breakfast, pretty little chair, and, best of all, a comfy bed that rocks in the current. But when the Octopus family returns home, they are not happy to find that someone has been eating their food and breaking their things. Baby has the biggest shock when she finds the mermaid asleep in her bed! Luckily, shock turns to happiness when Kiniro gives her a thoughtful gift before escaping from the twenty-four arms coming her way. Vibrant, intricate scenes of an underwater paradise transport this classic fairy tale to a magical setting inspired by the seas off the coast of Okinawa, Japan. Along with fun details that enrich the storytelling in Jan Brett’s trademark borders, this visual treat will enchant readers of all ages.

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