Summary: Consider the Octopus
Consider the Octopus is co-written by authors Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin. You’ll remember I hosted the cover reveal. When Jeremy “JB” Barnes is tasked by his research scientist mom and her teammates aboard a research ship to invite a group of scientists aboard their ship for publicity, he makes a huge mistake. Instead of inviting THE Dr. Sidney Miller, he ends up sending an invite to 12-year-old Sidney Miller who’s looking for an engaging, STEM-related science activity for the summer. When he realizes his mistake, he has to conceal Sidney aboard the ship even as they collaborate to help find more publicity for the research work on the Pacific Garbage Patch.
I liked Sidney so I enjoyed seeing the story told from both kids’ perspectives. JB is dealing with his mom dating the ship captain after his parents’ divorce. We get a glimpse into how his parents’ divorce affected him and his nonexistent relationship with his father. Sidney is close to her grandmother and actually connives with her to get on the ship.
I also love stories with a good amount of hijinks, and this one had plenty with Sidney trying to pose as one of the high schoolers also invited aboard since she definitely would not pass for an adult. The central theme of this story, though, is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (which I promptly looked up midway through the book). It’s really heartbreaking to see how much we’ve hurt the environment and I loved this book’s approach to enlightening readers.
It was hard to believe that Sidney’s grandmother would send her off on a boat, knowing she had been accidentally invited. For some reason, Sidney and JB’s friendship didn’t land with me. The story felt a bit rushed and I felt like they’d barely had any real bonding experiences?
Overall: Consider the Octopus
Consider the Octopus is a fun middle grade book about synchronicity, friendships, and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Kids who love funny protagonists will like JB and relate to his antics. Sidney will appeal to more serious kids with a passion for STEM and the environment. Overall, this was a quick, enjoyable read perfect for those looking for an extra boost of encouragement to care more about the planet.