BEHOLD THE OCTOPUS! (Book Release + Giveaway)

My newest picture book, BEHOLD THE OCTOPUS! released 2 weeks ago from Peachtree Publishing.

I’d love to take credit for coming up with the idea for a book about the clever, curious, and colorful octopus, but alas, I didn’t.

Tom Gonzalez, the talented illustrator who I’d worked with on COUNTDOWN, pitched the idea to me several years ago. He was mesmerized by the mysterious octopus, like most of the world, and really wanted to do a book about them (this was years before Netflix released their uber-popular documentary, My Octopus Teacher.)

Tom knew the octopus would be a glorious subject for a picture book, and he was right!

I enjoyed researching many fascinating octopus species for the project. These gorgeous, talented creatures possess unique talents, such as the ability to change skin color and texture to precisely match their surroundings.

There are many amazing octopus varieties, so it was exciting and challenging to select which ones to feature in the book. After much consideration, I selected eleven incredible, surprising species for the main text plus two others for the back matter pages. Brief lyrical text drives the story, while sidebars would provide more details about each kind.

For example, the blue-ringed octopus is small but mighty. Though its body is about the size of a golf ball, it produces a highly potent venom that can kill large predators and even humans.

The algae octopus can leave the water and walk on land!

The female blanket octopus unfurls long, regal webbing to scare off predators.

As you can see, the octopus is one of Earth’s most phenomenal creatures! What fun it has been to share these magnificent animals with young readers.

If you’d like to see more, here’s the book trailer for BEHOLD THE OCTOPUS!


★ “[An] absolute treat of a nonfiction picture book. … Gonzalez’s photorealistic art is breathtaking”

— The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, Starred Review

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Suzanne Slade

Suzanne Slade is the author of more than 100 books. A mechanical engineer by degree, she enjoys writing about science topics and fascinating historical figures. Recent books include: SWISH! The Slam-Dunking, Alley-Ooping, High-Flying Harlem Globetrotters, A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon, The Daring Dozen, Countdown: 2979 Days to the Moon, Astronaut Annie, Out of School and Into Nature: The Anna Comstock Story, Dangerous Jane, The Music in George's Head: George Gershwin Creates Rhapsody in Blue, The Inventor’s Secret, and Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks. Coming soon -- MARS IS, JUNE ALMEIDA VIRUS DETECTIVE! THE WOMAN WHO DISCOVERED THE FIRST HUMAN CORONAVIRUS, THE UNIVERSE AND YOU, and TBA titles from Calkins Creek, Peachtree, and Random House. Learn more about Suzanne and her books at:


  1. Debra Kempf Shumaker

    This looks amazing and GORGEOUS! Congrats! Can’t wait to read it.

  2. Wow! What a beautiful book! I can’t wait to read it!

  3. Becky Scharnhorst

    Wow! This looks gorgeous! Octopuses are my favorite animal. In fact, I have an octopus book coming out myself in a couple weeks. 🙂 Can’t wait to read this one!

  4. This book looks amazing. I will be adding it to my purchase list for our school library for sure.

  5. What a gorgeous book! I look forward to reading it!

  6. Can’t wait to read this. My kids were introduced to scuba when they were quite young and they were fascinated with the octopus we encountered. Now I have a grandson and look forward to showing him this beautiful creature through your book.

  7. You’re right, almost everyone is mystified by this creature. Looks like a fantastic and inviting read! Congrats.

  8. Octopus uber-fan, here. This book looks amazing! I encountered a small one years ago, while snorkeling off Catalina Island. I’ve been enchanted ever since. Can’t wait to read your beautiful book. Congrats!

  9. This looks so beautiful! Looking forward to reading. 🙂

  10. Wow! How cool…thanks for sharing!

  11. Congratulations Suzanne and Tom!! What a winning team! The book is gorgeous!!!

  12. Well, this is absolutely STUNNING. I love the way the text is paired with the art – which is simply breathtaking. I can’t wait to pick this up. Thank you so much for sharing. WOW. ❤️

    • Thanks for your enthusiasm about the book. I agree, the art is breathtaking. Some reviewers called it “photorealistic art” because the illustrations are so detailed they almost look like photos.

  13. danielle hammelef

    I have to admit I don’t know much about these amazing creatures. Learning that there are many kinds of octopus is alone fascinating. The illustrations are gorgeous. I shared on tumblr:

  14. I can’t wait to read your book! I find the octopus fascinating! Congratulations!! I would love a copy!

  15. Congratulations–looks like a beautiful book about fascinating animals!

  16. Congratulations! I know my little ones and I will enjoy this book.

  17. Wow. I’m blown away. Love how you tied the topic and imagery together with “O” and headline descriptive words on each spread. So effective.

  18. Kids are going to love this (and so am I)! I’m already intrigued by the octopus the size of a golf ball. Can’t wait to read it!

  19. Amazing creatures indeed! Congrats on a fabulouslooking book, Suzanne & Tom.

  20. Amazing creatures indeed! Congrats on a fabulouslooking book, Suzanne & Tom.

  21. Wow! I can’t take my eyes off the illustrations! I love the use of large boldface print for DANGEROUS, ADVENTUROUS, and GLIDING.

  22. This is wonderful!! It looks fabulous. Thanks for the link for the activity kit, too. I also need to peek on over at the hummingbird!! Best wishes and congrats.

  23. Destiny Love Lawyer

    This looks fascinating!

  24. Amazing creatures! Beautiful book! Congratulations!

  25. Beautiful book about an amazing creature.

  26. Wow! I am fascinated by how smart an octopus is! And amazing! Congratulations!

    • It’s actually a little mystifying how smart they are. One thing that puzzles me is how the octopus changes the color and pattern of its skin in milliseconds to exactly match its background. They are amazing!

  27. This is a beautiful book; my students are on a sea animals kick this year and would love to read it.
    The activity kit is fun too, you can never go wrong with a word search.

  28. This looks fabulous and gorgeous, Suzanne! Congratulations!

  29. This book looks beautiful! Think my twins would love it!

  30. I had no idea there were so many varieties of octopus! What an exciting book!

  31. This is such a gorgeous book! Congrats on having it make its way out into the world!

  32. Suzanne, I’ve loved your forays into space, I’m sure this deep sea dive will be just as interesting. Can’t wait to read it!

  33. Looks amazing. I watched that documentary from Netflix. Congratulations!

  34. Such an interesting and talented creature and it looks a beautiful book that will captivate young readers

  35. I love ocean animals! At my last aquarium visit, I spent the longest time watching an octopus move along its glass and rock enclosure. Fascinating! Curious kids (and adults) will LOVE this book! And the illustrations are stunning! How wonderful that Tom wanted to illustrate an octopus book and encouraged you to write one, Suzanne. Congrats and best of luck with reaching many readers. Hope Peachtree special sales folks pitch it to aquarium bookstores.

  36. Well, I just bought the book, and it is truly amazing! Congrats again!

  37. I will definitely be getting a copy of my own and can’t wait to share with my little people.

  38. Suzanne, you just keep hitting it out of the ballpark with your books! What a stunning and interesting picture book. Congratulations!

  39. Can’t wait to read this wonderful book!

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