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When it comes to bedtime stories there are certain books that fill my heart with glee when I am presented with them. These books are funny, brightly coloured and most importantly nice and short! Octopus Socktopus is one of my 2 year old son's favourite books, he is a huge fan of Nick Sharratt books and we have quite a range in his bedroom book box. This one has a RRP of £6.99 but is available on amazon for £4 to £5. Nick Sharratt has written and illustrated many books for this age range as well as being a well known illustrator for TV and fiction e.g. Tracey Beaker and Jacqueline Wilson. He has a unique, appealing style which relies on simple lines and bright colours, very cartoony. We own at least seven of his toddler books and all of them have been a hit with both children. They are generally my default birthday and Christmas gifts for children aged between 0 and 3 years old and have always been met with excitement and approval. This largish picture book is beautifully simple. On each page is a picture of an octopus with the word and picture altered in some way. The first two are the eponymous Octopus and Socktopus, but there are other gems like Punk Rocktopus with his Mohican and pierced nose, Cuckoo Clocktopus (Ticktocktopus!), Octopuss with its bowl of milk, Doctorpus with his bag. My son's favourite is the Toffee Choctopus which looks like a giant quality street sweet. Lift the flap and the paper unfolds to reveal the chocolate octopus inside - this page has been dribbled on and licked rather a lot, but the shiny coating means that it looks as good as new. Each picture is simply drawn but full of life and humour. There are only 24 pages in the whole book so theoretically you could whizz through this in about 30 seconds. However each picture is so bright and colourful, beautifully drawn and illustrated that you can spend much longer poring over some of the pictures. In addition some of the pages have paper engineering that adds a further layer of entertainment. The wheels of the Octobus all turn, if you pull the tab at the top of the cuckoo clock then the octopus pops out, the doctor's case flaps open and much more. At the end of the book, just like at the end of Moo Cow, Kung Fu Cow and Elephant Wellyphant there is a paper door which you open to slide out more of the subject creature, in this case the octopus. Despite my fears these elaborate paper mechanisms and flaps have survived extremely well. We have owned this book for about six months and it is read daily, often independently by my son and not one flap or mechanism has become damaged. The pages are equally as strong and have so far proved resistant to any sort of ripping or pulling. My son has loved this book since he was 18 months old, the primary coloured pictures, appealing creatures and limited text are extremely appealing to this age group. However I have also caught my 6 year old reading it and have to admit to flicking through the pages myself. It is short enough to mean that repeated presentations aren't met with a chorus of groans (I'm looking at you there Gruffalo) and if necessary it can be zoomed through if bedtime is stretching out too long. But its also a lovely book to share first thing in the morning before your brain starts working properly, just looking at and discussing the pictures seems to satisfy my son.
This is simply one of the greatest and most innovative children's books I have ever seen. I have to give this book 5 out of 5 (but would give it 6 if possible). Written by Nick Sharratt it is basically a few pages of rhyming octopus with various characteristics as can be seen on the front of the cover, such as an octopus wearing socks, hence socktopus. There are drawings of each octopus and a lot of the pages have pop ups, or fold outs, or bits that move. This book really helped my youngest child start talking when he was 3 as the words rhyme and the absurdness made him laugh. Now he is a year older he still goes back to this book time and time again. My older child (7 years old) also loves this book, but does get a little (understandably!) fed up with because it is read time and time again. The only downside is that it is a little short, and so great you really want more. There is also Nick's other book in the same vain of Elephant Wellypant about elephants that is equally as great.
Today was a good day for my toddler at the library as he came home laden down with a great selection of books. Amongst the haul was this bright and attractive 'Octopus Socktopus' written by Nick Sharratt. Nick Sharratt seems to be quite a prolific writer and illustrator of children's books and we have been drawn to a few of his books in the past as they are always colourful and humourous. This particular paperback certainly does not disappoint in any respect. The bright cover featuring two smiling octopuses (or should that be octopi?) caught our eye, particularly as one of them is very bizarrely wearing a sock on each tentacle! The fun and bizarre themes continue within the book as each octopus has been given something of a makeover and has been given an amusing new name to accompany the transformation. The octopus wearing the eight socks has become a 'socktopus.' We also have a 'Goldilocktopus', scoffing porridge and complete with spotty ribbons that can be twiddled with and turned (and unfortunately also ripped or pulled off, if the reader is a little heavy handed, as my two year old has a tendancy to be.) The book also features a 'cuckoo clocktopus' with a cute pop up octopus instead of a cuckoo and a ghostly octopus known as a 'scary shocktopus'! The whole book continues in the same vein with similar puns and plays on the whole octopus theme. There is no 'story' to follow as such but with language this well written and so funny, it really doesn't seem to matter. My personal favourites are the spotty octopus (chicken pocktopus) swiftly followed by 'Send for the Doctorpus' as well as a bus carrying a group of octopus, which could only be called an 'octobus' - what else! The language used is incredibly clever and very skillfully pulled together to make a very funny story. It is a bit of a shame that the intended audience probably won't appreciate the wit involved here as some of the phrases are going to be completely meaningless to a two or three year old. There is a 'Party Frocktopus', for instance, who is wearing a pink party dress with a lift up flap which reveals 'Knickerbocktopus' underneath! As an adult, I can appreciate the clever humour but toddlers aren't going to be familiar with words such as 'frock' or 'knickerbockers,' Even my seven year old, who was chuckling at many of the images and phrases, was confused by the 'Knickerbocktopus' so I had to explain what they were. I wouldn't be put off by this at all as my two year old's attention was held throughout the 24 page story and he was thoroughly entertained by the bright pictures and the tempting flaps and pull out features. I like how the images are so colourful and clear and there isn't too much going on in each spread to confuse or distract the young reader. Instead there is generally at least one interactive feature on each double page spread, whether this be a tab to make something (octopus related) pop out, wheels to turn or doors to open. These fun features, alongside the beautifully drawn pictures and clever puns make this a book that is a pleasure to read, for both parents as well as the children. This is one book that I was more than happy to read 'again' and 'one last time' at bedtime! ISBN 9781407107318 Published by Alison Green Books 2009 New copies available from £4.50 currently on Amazon
Octopus Socktopus is a childrens book written by Nick Sharratt and published in 2008. It is available in paperback and hardback, this review is based on the paperback version. The cover is bright, colourful and glossy. It has 2 octopus on the front (one wearing different socks on all eight legs). The book is quite flimsy and can be bent backwards and forewards - this is good in some ways but children are very heavy handed and whilst our copy is in good condition at the moment I don't suspect it will be too long before it gets damaged (the corners are already starting to get bend marks). Fortunately the book isn't completely weak and is actually quite tough for a paperback. If I realised at the time that the book also came in hardback then I probably would have paid a couple of pound extra and brought that because it's definitely a book for keeps. Octopus Socktopus has 24 pages and includes tabs and flaps for added fun. The first page has an octopus on holding a sign saying "This book belongs to ..." which gives the child an opportunity to write their name in. The book starts with a regular octopus and goes on to more random and bizarre octopus. Each page has a fun octopus illustration and the name of the octopus underneath or above. There is a Socktopus (the same as the octopus with socks on the cover), Goldilocktopus (an octopus with blonde bunches, eating 3 bowls of porrige), Cuckoo Clocktopus (with is a pop up cuckoo clock which has a tab that needs to be pulled up to open a door to reveal an octopus), Toffee Choctopus (which you unwrap like a sweet to reveal a brown/chocolate octopus), Scary Shocktopus (a white octopus with black background and bats), Chicken Pocktopus (a pink octopus with red spots), Doctorpus (an octopus with glasses, stethascope, bowtie and medical bag - the medical bag is a flap which can be opened to expose the contents of the bag), Helicopterpus (a pop up octopus with hopter on his head), Punk Rocktopus (octopus with spikey pink hair, guitar and safety pin through his nose), Furry Octopus (a fluffy octopus with cat face), Eight-Wheeled Octobus (a bus full of octopus which has 4 wheels that can be spun around), Party Frocktopus (a girlie octopus in a dress - the skirt of her dress is a flap which you can lift up to see her knickers - above it says 'Knickerbocktopus!'). The last page is a blue door with 'Knock Knocktopus' written on, when you open the door (which is a flap) it slides out a dozen different octopus with party hats, blowers and streamers and says 'Chock-o-blocktopus'. As you can see the book is quite a strange one but is very unique and fun. Sometimes I feel like I enjoy it as much as my 2 year old daughter! It makes a refreshing change to most of the other books we read together. She really enjoys this book and particularly the pages with flaps and tabs as it allows her to interact. Although my 2 year old likes it, I also think older children will enjoy it and find it interesting and funny. Because of the strangeness of the book I'd say it would best suit 3-7 year olds. The only downsides really are that some of the flaps and tabs can be ripped and generally destroyed so it's best to keep an eye on the little ones. It is priced at £6.99 although I'm sure you can get it cheaper if you shop around. It's currently for sale at Amazon.co.uk, Waterstones, WHSmith and Borders to name a few. Overall Octopus Socktopus is a very fun, amusing and unique book which all children will love.