Friday, March 4, 2011

Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud (Donna Rathmell)

Octavia Octopus lives in a small, secret cave at the bottom of the ocean.  She has many playmates—a porcupine fish, a sea horse, a flounder, a sea turtle, a clown fish, and a parrotfish.  Together with her friends, she plays “hide from a hungry creature.”  As Octavia encounters each of them, she reveals how they safeguard themselves from predators.  Then, she practices her own method of protection—squirting a purple ink cloud.  It takes her several tries to get the right color ink which is at a time she needs it most:  a shark has entered their little nook in the corral reef. 

Octavia and Her Purple Ink Cloud  (ages 3-8) is beautifully illustrated by Connie McLennan.  The ocean floor and its inhabitants are vibrant and animated.   A peek into the real lives of some favorite sea creatures is exhibited in a natural, narrative manner.  Authors Donna and Doreen Rathmell have written a story that is playful, yet factual.  I love how so many inherent teaching opportunities are packed into this one book. 

Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans:
·         Alliteration—All the names begin with the same sound (Freddy Flounder, Polly Parrotfish)
·         Colors—Each time Octavia “practices,” she shoots out a different color
·         Sea or Ocean Habitats—Excellent trade book for a preschool or elementary unit
·         Camouflage and Protection—Examine the variety of ways animals protect themselves (also see back of book)
·         Sea Creatures like the Octopus (see back of the book—includes a Ink Cloud Craft)
·         Fantasy vs. Reality—Much of the story illuminates facts about the sea creatures but there are also elements of fantasy, such as the various animals being friends, Octavia shooting out different colors, the personification of an octopus
·         More Ideas in Sylvan Dell’s 27-Page Teaching Guide and at their Website


  1. This looks like a really great book, i like the illustrations on the front cover!

  2. 3 of my kids fall in that age category and I bet they'd love this.

  3. Vibrant and animated are great key words!=)

    I have two little girls and we read a lot but I only recently began reviewing them on my blog. Right now I have my first Children book giveaway and I had a wonderful time exploring the book and all the learning extensions that came of it. In fact, that is one thing I really like about this post.

    Anyhow, I live surrounded by ocean so this book would be a wonderful treat for my little ones.


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