Publication Date: October 1, 2015
Bobby has always wanted to follow in the footsteps of his family line and become a fisherman. But not just any fisherman, Bobby wants to be part of Blackbeard's crew, the best of the best in the town of Seaside.
Walter is an octopus, wanting to be a hero like his grandfather. The night that he meets Bobby, everything he knows changes dramatically.
Firstly, can we just admire the cover for a few minutes? The illustrator, Hannah K. Shoping, has done a fantastic job with the cover and also the illustrations within the book itself. When I noticed the illustrations, I immediately switched from reading on the Kindle app on my iPad to the Bluefire Reader so that I could see the pictures themselves. Anyone who has ever tried to read an illustration book on the Kindle app will understand this.
I had no idea how short this book is until I started reading it. The whole book is only 184 pages, but the story it contains...wow. I flew through this book so quickly, reading it in less than a day. The story hooked me from the beginning, the illustrations made me smile all throughout the book, and the characters made me want to hug someone.
For the most part, the story is told from the POV of Walter and Bobby, with the occasional POV from another character. It's absolutely wonderful to read the book through Walter and Bobby's perspectives, since they're so different and offer such different views. Bobby is such a young child and has such a strong desire to be a fisherman, it's pretty much the only thing he's ever dreamed of being. And that influences him in such a huge way. On the other hand, Walter is an octopus who dreams of being as courageous as his grandfather, and is also somewhat intrigued by humans. And because they offer such different perspectives, it not only makes the overall story more enjoyable, but also teaches kids that two completely different characters, with absolutely different views, can still come to understand each other.
I enjoyed the simplicity of the plot. It makes it a great book for children aged 6-12, and it tells a great story with great morals. One thing that I really enjoyed about this was how the author used a very simple method of addressing societal things like racism, dreams, and prejudice. Maybe I read too much into a children's story, but I felt like the usage of an octopus and a child as main characters could easily resemble two people of different races. It may sound confusing when I say it like that, but I think you'll get it when you read the book.
While I did feel like the ending was slightly rushed, it was also understandable. There was such a huge buildup, it would have been a bad decision to drag a conclusion out. I really liked how things ended and felt very satisfied when I finished the book. I had no questions at the end of the book, and it made me smile to see where the characters ended up.
I really like Bobby. He is such a sweet child and all he wants to be a fisherman like every man in his family. His desire to make that dream come true can sometimes cloud his decision-making skills, but then again, he's a child. I really like the journey his character went through and the development he experienced. And I would actually love to see another book featuring him again.
Walter makes me want to have a pet octopus. More accurately, that picture of Walter makes me want a pet octopus. He is so sweet, so genuine, so pure-hearted, I can't help but love him. The picture of him was what initially drew me to take a closer look at the book, and it was the description of his character that made me decide that I wanted to give this book a shot. I think Walter could be a really great role model for kids, even if he's an octopus.
5 stars! I cannot recommend this enough. Whether or not you have a child, I think this is a really good book to read. It's fun and enjoyable, and the fact that it's a Middle Grade book doesn't make it boring at all. The fact that it's a Middle Grade book is actually one of the things I love most about this. I think this would make a really good birthday or Christmas present for a young child, and it's definitely something you could read to them at bedtime.
Thank you to NetGalley for hosting this on your site. Thank you also to Wylde Press for approving my request to read this in exchange for an honest review.