Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Marisa Polanksy
Illustrator: Joey Chou
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers
When a small, pink octopus joins a new aquarium, he meets interesting and beautiful creatures. All have a name to match their characteristics—everyone, that is, but him! Is he less valuable because he can’t change color like Mimic Octopus, breathe from many gills like Six-Gill Shark, or glow like Moon Jelly? After he tries to suggest his own name (Parachute Steerfish) to the laughter of the tank, he becomes even more upset. Just then, a scientist brings the best news possible—the octopus’s name is Adorabilis! It fits just right, and Adorabilis is happy to have a name.
Author Marisa Polansky creatively transforms a true scientific discovery of a new species by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute into a wonderful narrative. Themes such as acceptance, self-confidence, and welcoming others can easily be drawn from the story. Joey Chou’s shape-filled, colorful illustrations enhance the deep-sea setting. At the back of the book is a two-page note about the process of finding and then dubbing the adorable flapjack octopus Opisthoteuthis Adorabilis. The name began as a joke but caught attention on the internet and then stuck!