Author: Tao Nyeu
Illustrator: Tao Nyeu
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 2012
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: A friend for always is someone who... knows how to cheer you up when you're feeling droopy, usually sees things your way, and never lets a quarrel get out of hand. As you'll see in these endearing, silly stories, a friend for always is the very best thing in the deep blue sea.
What I Think: I enjoy stories of friendship and Tao Nyeu has definitely added Squid and Octopus to the ranks of great book friends. First of all, I have to start by telling you how absolutely whimsical and wonderful the illustrations are in this book. They are beautiful. I love that the pages aren't stark white and then the hues of blues, greens, yellows and oranges are a mix of bold and subdued that are perfect. It's hard not to look at this duo and smile. They're full of adorable-ness.
That said, this book is made up of four sweet mini-stories about Octopus and Squid and their friendship. They are friends who sometimes disagree and who can share their hopes and dreams and be honest about their fears. No matter what, in the end, they are the best of friends!
I do have to say that I reread this book a few times to get the right feel for it. It's a cute collection from the beginning but the dialogue didn't flow well for me at first. I kind of felt like the dialogue for Squid and Octopus was the same, it was hard to recognize a difference in voice between the two characters. When I think of a book like Bink and Gollie, it's easy to tell who is talking based on the dialogue. For this book, the dialogue sounded like the same voice for both characters. I would pull this book out to study dialogue and voice and have kids decide how they author did. What a perfect book to match with Bink and Gollie or Elephant and Piggie to really study the author's work. I say give it a few tries, it's more endearing with every read!
Read Together: Grades K - 3
Read Alone: Grades 2 - 3
Read With: Bink and Gollie (series) by Kate DiCamillo, Scaredy Squirrel (series) by Melanie Watt, Elephant and Piggie series and Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator by Mo Willems
Snatch of Text:
"Squid studied Octopus's mittens.
'Your mittens are nice, ' he finally admitted.
'those are great socks,' said Octopus.
'Should we...share?' asked Squid.
A splendid exchange of socks and mittens followed.
'Silly turtle,' said Octopus. 'Who ever heard of wearing scarves and earmuffs? Obviously, what we really need is a hot pot of tea.'
'And cake,' added Squid.
Octopus and Squid cozied up in their socks and mittens.
They sipped hot tea. They munched on cake. They were warm."Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Making Inferences
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, Short Stories, Dialogue, Voice, Characterization
Writing Prompts: Write about a time when you and a friend had a disagreement. How did you handle the situation? Would you solve the problem the same way next time or try to solve it differently the next time?
Topics Covered: Friendship, Fun, Disagreements, Hopes and Dreams, Fears, Integration - Math - Knitting, Arts and Crafts, Sea Life
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