Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
When chance, or fate, throws two twelve-year-olds together on board a scientific research ship at the edge of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it’s not all smooth sailing!
Jeremy “JB” Barnes is looking forward to spending the summer before seventh grade hanging on the beach. But his mother, a scientist, has called for him to join her aboard a research ship where, instead, he’ll spend his summer seasick and bored as he stares out at the endless plastic, microbeads, and other floating debris, both visible and not, that make up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Miles and miles away, twelve-year-old Sidney Miller is trying to come up with an alternate activity worthy of convincing her overprotective parents that she can skip summer camp.
When Jeremy is asked to find the contact information for a list of important international scientists and invite them to attend a last-minute Emergency Global Summit, he’s excited to have a chance to actually do something that matters to the mission. How could he know that the Sidney Miller he messages is not the famous marine biologist he has been tasked with contacting, but rather a girl making podcasts from her bedroom—let alone that she would want to sneak aboard the ship?
Consider the Octopus is a comedy of errors, mistaken identity, and synchronicity. Above all, it is a heartfelt story about friendship and an empowering call to environmental protection, especially to our young people who are already stepping up to help save our oceans and our Earth.
About: Consider the Octopus is a realistic fiction written by Nora Raleigh Baskin and Gae Polisner. It was published on 4/5/2022 by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers, hardcover, 272 pages. The genres are middle grade book, realistic fiction, science, and environment. This book is intended for readers ages 8 to 12. According to the publisher’s website, “Henry Holt Books for Young Readers is known for publishing quality picture books, chapter books, and novels for preschoolers through young adults. Covering a wide variety of genres, our books feature imaginative authors and illustrators who inspire young readers.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Consider the Octopus for my toddler’s bedtime on 6/10/2022 and I finished it on my own on 6/12/2022 because I couldn’t wait until the next bedtime to continue. An excellent read! So far, I think I have only read picture books that talked about the ocean garbage problems (The Global Ocean, An Earth-Bot’s Solution to Plastic Pollution). This middle grade book is an excellent addition to my collection of books that brought awareness to young readers about the troubles of plastics and garbage in the world’s ocean. I enjoyed following Jeremy’s view. He’s funny. Sydney’s view was good too. She’s smart and self motivated. Her mom wanted her to do something educational and she set out to do it. She’s a good role model to young readers at least the educational wise, not the lying parts. I liked that the two views explained each other’s events before they met each other. I like the big word we all learned from reading this book, synchronicity.
This book followed Jeremy, 12 as he waited at the check-in table aboard the research ship called Oceania II. His job was to check in SEAmester kids. The alternative view was Sydney, 12. She and her Nana were watching the loading docks for the real SEAmester kids with a binocular. They were planning for Sydney to get on board the Oceania II pretending to be one of the SEAmester kids for the Water Summit. Before the kids arrived, Jeremy had to visit the bathroom. Sydney ran into Jeremy at the bathroom and based on the logo on the shirt Jeremy was wearing, Sydney who questioned about signs and coincidences, knew right away what she had to do. At check-in, Jeremy realized he had invited the wrong Dr. Sydney, because instead of an adult, a kid was there. He had to make an important decision whether to let her on the boat to join the research trip or not. The story then switched to 10 days earlier following Jeremy as he traveled with his family on the Oceania II during summer break. His mom, a chief scientist. The ship they were on has technology to sweep 88k tons of garbage. His older twin siblings enjoyed the trip but he didn’t especially because he gets seasick. Sydney on the other hand, dreamed about being on the boat. She constantly saw signs that pointed her to Oceania II. Then the story switched back to the check-in part and on from there. Jeremy’s mom’s project with the ocean cleanup needed publicity and grant, Jeremy and Sydney’s mission was to achieve it.
Consider the Octopus started slow but got better later. Fantastic humor. Good jokes. An important message where kids letting kids in on the garbage problems. I liked knowing that there are people and technology out there attempting to clean ocean garbage. This story was good because it involved kids in what seemed to be an adult problems. I loved the encouragement of kids’ involvement in this story and how they can make a difference by taking part in the change. I liked learning about Midway Atoll. I never thought of it but Sydney brought up a great point about the Earth’s water being recycled and use again. Nobody is making new water. It’s definitely sad every time I see news articles talking about a marine animal washed up ashore and died because of a stomach full of plastics. My family and I haven’t drink plastic water bottles in a long time but it’s just a small step in reducing plastics that ended up in the ocean. In the story, I liked how Jeremy named out the garbage that were in the ocean. Readers can imagine what the Pacific Garbage Patch looked like as they read. A must read book and I recommend everyone to read it!
I rate it 5 stars!
About the Authors:
Nora Raleigh Baskin is the ALA Schneider Family Book Award–winning author of Anything But Typical. She was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for her novel What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows, and has since written a number of novels for middle graders and teens, including The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah, The Summer Before Boys, and Ruby on the Outside. Nora lives with her family in Connecticut. https://www.norabaskin.com/about-nora/ (Photo obtained from the author’s website and info obtained from Macmillan’s website).
Gae Polisner is the author of THE MEMORY OF THINGS, SEVEN CLUES TO HOME and several other novels for readers young, old or in between. More info can be found on the author’s website: https://www.gaepolisner.com/about-1 (Photo obtained from the author’s website and info obtained from the author’s Goodreads account).
More Information about Macmillan Children’s Publishing
***Many thanks to MacKidsBooks for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.