Review: Squid and Octopus Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu

squid and octopus

Squid and Octopus Friends for Always by Tao Nyeu

In a series of short stories, the friendship of Squid and Octopus is revealed.  Together at the bottom of the sea, they have a several cheery adventures.  In the first story, the two get into a fight over whether mittens or socks should be worn when the weather gets cold.  It turns out that both do a great job of keeping you warm and an even better one when shared.  The second story focuses on a dream that Squid had that gave him super powers!  The only bad thing is that he’s sad now that he’s awake and normal again.  It’s up to Octopus to show him just how super he really is.  The third story has a boot sink to the bottom of the ocean.  Octopus tries to figure out what to do with it.  In the final story, the friends have a fortune cookie but worry about what sort of fortune it might contain.  All of the stories have an innate and natural sweetness to them that is striking.

Nyeu’s storytelling strength is on display in this picture book.  Though the text is nice and brief to appeal to younger audiences, Nyeu doesn’t keep it too simple.  Instead he builds in warmth and depth with words.  Just a few extra touches make this book even more memorable.

The book is illustrated with Nyeu’s trademark simplicity and limited palette.  Using greens, oranges, yellows and blues, the colors are sherbet and deep sea.  Nyeu is also a master of white space, using the background almost as another color in his work. 

A delightfully sunny picture book set in the ocean depths, young readers are sure to find two new friends here.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Dial Books for Young Readers.