Disclosure: A free copy of this book was furnished by the publisher for review, but providing a copy did not guarantee a review. This information is provided per the regulations of the Federal Trade Commission.
Walking Your Octopus: A Guidebook to the Domesticated Cephalopod, by Brian Kesinger. Illustrated.
Los Angeles, CA, Baby Tattoo Books, July 2013, hardcover $29.95 (unpaged [64 pages]).
This impishly hilarious book by a veteran Walt Disney artist and writer presents straightfaced advice to the well-bred Victorian lady who would have a pet octopus. They are not for the average person, the author warns. The cephalopod, be it an octopus, a squid, a cuttlefish, or a nautilus, is an intelligent and high-maintenance animal which needs considerable space and exercise. Yet they learn tricks easily, and will reward the attentive mistress with loyalty and hours of entertainment.
Walking Your Octopus is a collection of full-color double-page spreads; the text on the left and the picture on the right, showing Miss Victoria Psismall and her pet land octopus Otto illustrating the text. There are Victorian-setting drawings for choosing the right cephalopod, getting your octopus a toy that it will like, proper hygiene for your octopus, teaching your octopus tricks, and many more – over thirty of them. My favorite is: “Though certain octopuses have been bred to live on land, it is important for them to have a tether to their heritage. Octopus females can lay upward to 200,000 eggs, so it is suggested that one find a stationery shop that will sell birthday cards in bulk.”
The book is in an unusual format, 13.8 inches long by 6.9 inches high, presenting long rather than high illustrations. The artwork appears simple, but is full of detail; for example, in a montage of possible octopus toys, there is a Cthulhu jack-in-the-box. The book features the art style that one might expect considering that the publicity says that Brian Kesinger has worked on Disney animated features for over sixteen years, contributing to Tarzan, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, and more. He has also had paintings in gallery exhibits around the world.
It is clear that Miss Psismall and her octopus love each other. Nevertheless, reading Walking Your Octopus will make you glad that land-going octopuses are only fictional. Ask an aquarium employee about the intelligence of octopuses, which are constantly trying to escape, sometimes successfully, despite the fact that they cannot live outside salt water.
Buy where fine art and imaginative illustrated humor books are popular.