#RivetingReviews: Johanna McCalmont reviews FASZINATION KRAKE by Michael Stavarič

Do you know some curious little explorers? Would you like to take them on a journey up into space and back down into the depths of the sea? Then this Austrian Children’s Book Prize 2022 winner, ‘The Fascinating Lives of Octopuses’, is just the ticket.

With fascinating facts, funny rhymes, octopus-themed jokes, and ‘spot the difference’ puzzles, this stunning science book for children aged eight and up is attention-grabbing in every way. It not only offers a lively overview of the universe in general before delving into the lives of octopuses beneath the waves, but it also provides a few laughs along the way.

Stavarič enthusiastically introduces us to one of the oldest intelligent forms of life on earth. After briefly exploring the origins of the universe and life on earth, we are submerged into the amazing world of cephalopods: where they live, what they eat, how they reproduce, how they think, how they protect themselves, and how they use their special superpowers.

By directly addressing readers with questions, inviting them to get out their pens to write their own list of dream jobs, urging little hands to add colour to the detailed black-and-white drawings or cut out their own octopus, and interspersing the lively prose with fact boxes especially for ‘smarty pants’, the author has created a truly interactive experience.

Ganser’s superbly detailed black, white and gold illustrations – reminiscent of scientific drawings – offer not only broad panoramas of deep-sea habitats and an overview of the variety of species that exist, but also captivating close-ups of these magnificent creatures. Each drawing is an individual artwork in itself.

This unique science book is bound to stimulate inquisitive minds and hopefully inspire researchers and story writers of the future to explore the world around them.

Reviewed by Johanna McCalmont


(‘The Fascinating Lives of Octopuses’)

By Michael Stavarič 

illustrated by Michèle Ganser

Published by Leykam Verlag (2021)

English rights sold.

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Johanna McCalmont is a Northern Irish translator and interpreter based in Brussels, where she works from French, German, Dutch, and Italian. She has published several translations for children with Blue Dot Kids Press and is co-editor of the blog at Project World Kid Lit.

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Category: The Austrian RiveterApril 2023 - The Austrian RiveterReviewsThe Riveter


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