Joshua’s Bookshelf!: O’Shae the Octopus, by Brandee Buble

[This review is based on the ARC (Advance Reader Copy) digital edition published by Simply Read Books in 2014.]

So what’s it about?
O’Shae the Octopus is different from every other octopus in the sea — he has ten “arms” instead of eight! His mother explains that this makes him special, and he sees himself as extra helpful. One day, O’Shae is playing at the park with his friend Shelton the Shark when he is bullied by a manta ray named Mean Mike and a crab called Lanny for being different. O’Shae is very sad at first, but then he realizes that he can use his tentacles as swings and slides. The fact that everyone loves to play on his tentacles makes him happy, and Mean Mike and Lanny see the error of their ways. They apologize, all is forgiven, and the four new friends play together!

What did we think of the book?
Bullying is unfortunately becoming a norm in schools these days, and books like O’Shae the Octopus are wonderful teaching tools. The artwork is adorable, and very bright and colorful — I can certainly see it catching the eyes of schoolchildren everywhere (as it did for Joshua, who isn’t yet in school). Joshua really enjoyed pointing out all the different marine life and counting O’Shae’s tentacles! The story itself was both fun and meaningful, told in quatrains with simple language. I loved that O’Shae’s friend Shelton was so warm and encouraging, especially after the appearance of the bullies; it teaches children about the importance of supporting their friends in all situations. Of all the characters in the story, I think Shelton was my favorite! I also loved that O’Shae was based on the author’s real-life son, also named O’Shae!

Would we add it to Joshua’s bookshelf?
For now, it’s just a fun story to Joshua — he’s too young to comprehend the underlying message about bullying. That being said, he did enjoy it (as did I), and we’ll certainly revisit it in the future! And a fun little side note: the author, Brandee Buble, is the sister of recording artist Michael Buble. How cool is that?!

O’Shae the Octopus will be available for purchase on May 15, 2014.