Cover Image: Consider the Octopus

Consider the Octopus

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Member Reviews

What a great collaboration! I bought this book for my environmental activism book clubs. My students will love the science, the humor, and the friendships. This book provides a great message to students that they can make a difference.
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Great story for middle grade readers who are eco-friendly and interested in clean oceans. A lovely pairing by two popular authors.
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The writing in this novel really captures the different voices of JB and Sidney, their hopes and fears, their quirks and what makes them tick. There were definitely moments where the suspension of disbelief had to be a bit high for adults, but I'm not sure if that will be the case for children... The synchronicity push also was a bit much at times, but I think could be magical and fun for children -- almost like an Alchemist for them. I liked the focus on climate change and finding one's voice, and hope that will rise above the rest.
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This MUST READ middle-grade novel casts Jeremy "JB" Barnes as a 7th grade unlikely activist aboard his mother's research ship, headed to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. When he is tasked with inviting other significant scientists to attend the Emergency Global Summit, JB accidentally invites 12-year-old podcaster, Sidney Miller instead of the FAMOUS marine biologist, Sidney Miller. Oops!

As he tries to hide the Sidney Miller who shows up on the ship (successfully getting away from summer camp), JB's actions take twists and turns that no one expects. They all end up learning the value of conserving the ocean waters and wildlife, though. Readers will learn and have fun in the process. Pair this title with information about Greta Thunberg or Rachel Carson (the name of the goldfish on board the ship). There is much to learn about the earth's water and how "this is all we got."

Consider the Octopus should be in every school library and middle school science classroom. Readers will love this new title by writing-dynamo duo Nora Raleigh Baskin and Gae Polisner. Many summer school programs have identified ocean water/wildlife conservation as the theme for their ELA June and July activities, and this book is perfect for this year's efforts.
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Jeremy Barnes is having the worst summer of his life. His parents are divorced. He’s spending the summer with his scientist mom rather than with his friends. He hates that they’re aboard the Oceania II because what’s worse is that they’re going to be in the middle of the ocean. On land in Seattle, science-enthusiast Sidney Miller must spend the summer with her hippie (but cool) grandmother doing something educational every single day in lieu of heading off to (ugh) summer camp. When Jeremy is put in charge of locating and sending invitations to a list of scientists to join the Oceania II crew for the purpose of bringing attention to the urgent need for clean water and the massive amount of plastic clogging the ocean, Sidney is mistaken to be Dr. Sidney Miller, from the Marine Lab at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

It’s no mistake, according to Sidney's grandmother, who wholeheartedly believes in synchronicity, so utilizing a little subterfuge with Sidney’s parents, they plot to get her onto the ship—after all, being on board is educational, right? When she shows up to the Oceania II, and Jeremy realizes his gigantic mistake, the two twelve-year-olds figure out how to smuggle Sidney onto the ship as the kid who was a no-show. Jeremy and Sidney become buddies, and the two partner in the quest to secure funding for the ship’s program and to highlight to the world the seriousness of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

Told in alternating points of view, Jeremy and Sidney are exceptionally likeable characters who engage in eco-activism with creative and no-holds-barred thinking. In turn, they show readers that youth can lead the way to a better and cleaner future. Consider the Octopus by Nora Raleigh Baskin and Gae Polisner (whose previous book was Seven Clues to Home) features crisp and engaging writing perfect for the target audience. And seriously, how can you not love a story with a goldfish named Rachel Carson that Sidney sneaks onto the ship? In between the humor and close calls, the authors include information about plastics and microplastics—what they are, the destruction they’re causing to the ocean and marine life, and how important it is to support the cleanup of the Garbage Patch. The novel is fun, inspiring, educational (without lecturing), and well-timed. Perfect for kids who are concerned about the environment and those who should be. Even reluctant readers will embrace this story.

P.S. If you know an 8- to 12-year-old, please buy this book for them. They'll love you for it!
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy of this book.

Two twelve year old kids, both looking for a summer adventure, find themselves in an unexpected and unlikely partnership aboard a ship working to shine a light on the concerning continued growth and formidable task of reducing and cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Jeremy "JB's" mother is a scientist on the research ship hoping to bring attention to their work, and in a strange twist of mistaken identity, JB invites Sidney Miller to join him and the crew, thinking she is the famous marine biologist with the same name. When he realizes his error he has to decide whether to come clean about his mistake or sneak her aboard the ship and figure out a way to keep her identity and his error hidden from his mom, the captain, and the rest of the crew. It is a delightful middle grade story that will have readers reflecting on their own impact on the oceans of the world. Great book to share and promote around Earth Day!

I finished this book while on spring break in Maui. It made the impact of the book that much greater as I noticed the pieces of plastic littering the sands of the beaches, the types of straws given at every restaurant, and how the young adult workers on the whale watching boat fished a plastic bag out of the ocean with absolute glee.
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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.
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Jeremy and Sidney, both twelve years of age, come together on a summer adventure on the sea. While they began as unlikely partners, they end up forming a formidable team as they try bring attention to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and the work being done there. They are a likable pair and provide the reader with some humor along their journey.
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As an adult who loves to read children's, middle grade and young adult fiction, I really enjoyed this story.  I found the setting of the story, a research ship exploring the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, to be a unique and fun place to read about.  JB, the son of a researcher on board, is stuck on the ship with his mother, but he has some responsibilities of his own.  Including inviting both scientists and SEAmester students on board the ship.  When he realizes he made a huge mistake, he does his best to cover it up, while also finding a good friend in the "wrong" Sidney Miller.  I found that the book moved faster than I would have loved, and I would have liked some more of the plot to focus on the "sciencey" parts of this story.  But I think that any child would love reading this story too.  This was a fun read and one I recommend!
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Could a 12-year-old really have stowed away on an ocean research ship? Unlikely, but the story that unfolds is, besides a heartwarming exploration of friendship, an optimistic call to arms for young readers to not only protect the environment, but to figure out how to get that message across to the wider world.
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Great book for younger middle school students! Thought provoking and funny, will give readers a helpful look into the dire situation in our oceans and encourage them to care for their planet. (And hopefully inspire adult readers as well!)
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What a great story! Engaging dual POV- JB, trying to gain respect, Sidney, convinced it’s meant to be- dive into a program to combat water pollution. Hilarious and suspenseful!
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I adore unique fiction, and this is such an interesting premise. I recommend because of the story itself, writing style, and its ability to transport you into a different world.
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thank you Netgalley, publishers and the author for this book in exchange for a fair review  My daughter (11) and I loved this book. She usually enjoys graphic novels but has been trying to read more chapter books and this book definately has her inspired to read more chapter books. She loved the characters and we got through this book on two days.  I hope the author's make more books because I will definately buy them .
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I absolutely adored this book! It's very smart and funny (like laugh out loud funny) but it's also very inspiring. I'm excited to share this with my niece when it comes out and I will definitely read it again. Highly recommended.
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Jeremy, “ JB” ,is put in charge of emailing scientists to Oceania II to attract global attention to the tons of garbage threatening a wildlife refuge. He accidentally invites Sidney, a student, instead of Dr. Sidney. At first JB hides Sidney, but then some meaningful coincidences happen, and they both realize they were meant to be on Oceania II to hopefully start a chain reaction because they know kids can help change the future of the planet. Will a secret plan they have get the  media involved at the last minute?
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Consider the Octopus is told through alternating perspectives of a boy named JB and girl named Sidney who are both aboard a ship headed to the Great Pacific Garbage patch. JB's mother works there and Sidney is on board due to a mix-up. The two have to work together to maintain the lie they told to explain Sidney's presence on the ship and come up with a plan to draw media attention to the environmental mission of the ship. Both main characters are charming and relatable and the book talks about ocean pollution in a way that kids can easily grasp. Overall a good choice for any middle-grade reader with an interest in environmentalism.
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Delightful story of synchronicity, two persistent 12 year olds, and a garbage island the size of Texas.
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A great story of friendship among two 12 year olds who think they don't fit in. Also, a primer on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch: what it is, how it was created, and why it's a problem. 
Sidney and JB meet after a series of coincidences and mix ups - or possibly synchronicity. They spend a week onboard a scientific research vessel studying the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and trying to get the media to pick up the story. 
A sweet, funny, and informative read. Great for classroom use in science or language arts. Also a great independent read.
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