Monday, April 6, 2009

Big thumbs up for The Octonauts

I'm pleased to announce that my oldest son is now old enough to enjoy books featuring monocle-wearing bear-squids:

That's right, this week, I shared with my son Meomi's* two Octonauts books. As I've mentioned in the past, Meomi's character design is terrific. But their books, especially their first book, are more than that.

The Octonauts and The Only Lonely Monster is a pleasure to read. In it, the Octonauts journey around the world, trying to find the family of a giant nut/squid monster. Along the way, they meet most of my favorite creatures (narwhals, snow monkeys, beluga whales, terror lizards, and more):

(He's Canadian)

I love it, and more importantly, my son loves it and asks for it at bedtime.

Meomi's second Octonauts book, The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade isn't as enjoyable.

It's as if Meomi poured every clever idea into their first Octonauts book (snow monkeys speaking Japanese! upside down pages! flashbacks illustrated in a different style!), and didn't have much left for the second. In the second book, the Octonauts go in search of the world's missing shadows. As you can see from the cover, the art is just as strong, but the problem is pretty much every page looks the same - - a bunch of black shadows. So, if you're going to buy one book this month, especially one to share with your kids, treat yourself to The Octonauts and The Only Lonely Monster, currently $11 at Amazon.

UPDATE: I was obviously to harsh with my review of the second book. My son has begged me to read it to him every day this week.

*Meomi is actually two people - - Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy. I'm curious as to how they collaborate, especially because Wong apparently lives in Vancouver and Murphy lives ion Los Angeles. But as far as I could tell, there's no interview with them online. (Aside from this one, but I don't have the necessary player installed.)

*Previously: Professor Ocularo's X-Ray Monocle.

*Buy octopus toys at eBay.