Just because it has eight arms doesn't mean an octopus's life is easy. Sure, growing back a tentacle when necessary is helpful, but much of its existence is spent on the lam from predators. This nonfiction picture book for older readers even shows an oh-so-pretty coral snarfing up a baby octopus. When an octopus isn't escaping or hiding from something, it's looking for a meal. Dead dogfish shark, anyone? Focusing on the eat-or-be-eaten nature of an octopus's life gives the information a dramatic arc, and readers find out fascinating facts about what the strange-looking creature does to protect itself. A prolific science and nature writer, Sandra Markle conveys her subject matter in a clear, straightforward style, and the book, part of a series called "Animal Prey," features large color photos throughout, which correspond well with the text.
The National Science Teachers Association and the Children's Book Council cited Octopuses—and 31 other titles in 8 categories—in the brand-new 2008 edition of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12. A great resource for parents as well as teachers and librarians, this list is one that many of us anticipate with glee every year.
A hat tip to The Miss Rumphius Effect for NSTA book-list news.