The Tickle-Octopus by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood is a quirky and comical children's book that I enjoyed reading. I had never heard of this book before, but I was intrigued as soon as I saw the book. It has a unique shape. The edges of the book are not straight and there is a cut out in the cover that shows a little boy looking through. I could tell this was going to be something I would enjoy, and I was right.
The Tickle-Octopus goes back in time to the days of the cavemen. During this time, life was very different. The main character is a little boy, Bup, who lives with his parents. His parents are grumpy, unhappy, and rude. Bup's siblings vanished, and his parents are very worried that Bup will too. Therefore, when they go away to hunt, they put Bup into a cave to keep him away from danger. However, in this cave, Bup discovers the Tickle-Octopus. The Tickle-Octopus reaches out and tickles him! He had never felt this feeling ever before, and he SMILED. No one had ever smiled before! Bup shows the Tickle-Octopus to his father, and his father laughs the first laugh ever! Bup and his father take the Tickle-Octopus to Ughmaw (mom) who, after being tickled, started to play with the others for the very first time! After they discover all this joy from the Tickle-Octopus, they decide to share it will all the neighboring cavemen villages. In fact, this leads them to finding their long lost family members.
This book was a cute way to explain how people first smiled, laughed, and played. Although it is not very realistic, I really enjoyed reading it. There were some pictures (the ones who said they ____ for the first time) that needed to be unfolded to see what they said. I thought this was a fun element and added interest to the book. The illustrations were fabulous (Don Wood seems to do a great job in all the books he has done). The colors and facial expressions always paint a vivid and life-life picture. I also really liked the structure of the story. There is a nice flow between one event to another. The introduction and conclusion really drew me in and gave me closure.
I would suggest this book as a fun read and for children who like books that do not follow the typical format. The font is enlarged, the pages are unique, and some of the words seem like real cave people could have said them.