Even an Octopus Needs a Home
written and illustrated by Irene Kelly
2011 (Holiday House)
Source: Orange County Public Library
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But all animals, including humans, need homes for the same reason: to have a safe and snug place to live and raise a family.
Even an Octopus Needs a Home explores the theme of every living thing needing a safe place to live by categorizing the types of habitats created by animals. It starts with Tree Houses. Familiar (chimpanzees, honey bees) and exotic animals (monk parakeet, Montezuma Oropendolas) are featured. Each section tells what materials are used and how the animal builds the home. Several "wow" facts are included which makes for fun nonfiction. For example, some monk parakeet nests "can be as big as a car." One colony of Montezuma Oropendolas built 172 nests in one tree! Other categories of habitats include Towers (ants, coral reefs), Caves (bears, octopi who hang eggs from the ceiling), and Burrows (shrimp, tortoises). Each animal feature is accompanied by bright watercolor illustrations and fascinating information that will energize young nonfiction fans. This is the perfect book if you teach a unit on animal homes. I could see kindergarten and first grade students creating booklets of animal homes based on this book. Whole classes or small groups could create Venn diagrams that contrast different homes within a category or across categories. I might have an "Animal Home of the Day" and feature a different animal perhaps accompanied by other photographs and/or United Streaming video if that is available to you. There are several possible uses to Even an Octopus Needs a Home, so find a copy for your animal units in science.