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We'll Paint the Octopus Red

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  228 ratings  ·  68 reviews
As six-year-old Emma anticipates the birth of her new baby brother or sister, she imagines all of the things they can do together. They'll go to Grandpa's farm to feed the calves, ride in the back of the mini-van making faces at the cars that go by, fly on airplanes, and someday, they'll even go to Africa on a safari.
Hardcover, 28 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Woodbine House
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4.26  · 
Rating details
 ·  228 ratings  ·  68 reviews

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Jun 02, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: families who have a child with Down Syndrome, children interested in learning about Down Syndrome
Emma is not too thrilled that she will soon be getting a little brother/sister; she has been an only child for almost six years and likes it that way. But when her father describes how much fun being a big sister will be, Emma slowly warms to the idea and thinks of all kinds of fun activities she might share with her new brother or sister. But when baby brother Isaac is born with Down Syndrome, Emma is worried that her little brother will never be able to do any of the things she had planned to ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book for children who have a sibling with special needs.
Jun 02, 2011 rated it really liked it

This is the story of a little girl who is nervous about having a new baby brother or sister. But, when she starts to imagine all the things they can do together, she becomes excited about the arrival. When her father comes home from the hospital and explains that the baby has Down syndrome, the girl begins to worry that all her plans of things to do with the baby will never come to pass. But, her father explains that, with a little help and patience, they will still be able to do everyt
May 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a terrific story that helps parents talk to their children about Down Syndrome. The story shows quite plainly that children with Down Syndrome can do so many things that others can do and that we should love them and accept them for who they are. The additional information in the back helps explain what the Syndrome is, how it is caused, and answers frequently asked questions about it. I love that the sweet perspective of the big sister helps her father and together they make plans for t ...more
Jan 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: educate young children about Down Syndroms
Shelves: picture-books
This is an excellent book about welcoming a new baby with Down Syndrome into the family. Emma is excited to learn she has a new brother and tells her dad all the things she wants to do with the baby. The next day her Dad is very upset and when she asks why he tells her that baby Isaac has Down Syndrome. She questions whether he will still be able to play kickball or paint or feed the animals at the farm and each question answered positively. Her father explains that Isaac will be able to do all ...more
This is a little more of what I look for in a children's book about Down Syndrome. A little girl knows she's getting a younger sibling, and her father lets her know the new baby has Down Syndrome. So what does she do? She asks lots and lots of questions to the tune of "Will he be able to do this?" and each time her father says, "Well yes, he'll be able to do that." The book indicates the father has been crying, and you can tell that with all the questions his daughter asks, he and his daughter r ...more
Danni Green
Apr 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: r4k
I read this because it appeared on a list of books that handle disability issues well. I have to disagree with that assessment. This book entirely centers the experience of the non-disabled child (and to some extent, the other non-disabled family members). You don't really even learn anything about Down's Syndrome, only about how it might affect (or not affect) a child who doesn't have it to have a sibling who does, and it barely even does that. It also refers to Africa as if it's like...a pseud ...more
Lisa Vegan
First, I need to say that I knew a bit about this book from reading friends’ reviews and comments on reviews and in the Children's Books group; this book is one of the selections at its Picture Books Club for June’s theme of people who have physical disabilities.

I thought the book would really annoy me because 1. it looked as though it was a book simply about a new sibling, until well into the book when it’s revealed the new baby has Down Syndrome, and therefore might not be the best new baby bo
Katy Vance
Feb 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is a wonderful text, both in terms of introducing children and families to the basics of Down Syndrome as well as, separate from it's content, an excellent picture book. The pictures are brightly colored, centered on the page, and aid student understanding of the characters and plot progression. In particular, the illustrations do a nice job of subtly representing the differences in facial characteristics of children with Down Syndrome. As the story points out, children with Do ...more
Cassandra Gelvin
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
In an octopus's garden, with you.

I'm not really sure what to say. It feels like it's aimed at a very specific audience, namely children who have just had a younger sibling born who has Down syndrome, which is a very small audience. I guess you could give it to a child if you were trying to explain what Down syndrome was. But basically the only thing says is what Down syndrome isn't. It doesn't say what it is.

There's a little girl who's the main character, and she's got a new baby brother, and sh
Deja Hall
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This realistic fiction story is about a little girl named Emma who just found out her new baby brother has Down syndrome. At first Emma did not even want a baby brother but then she had a talk with her dad about the things she could do with her brother. When the upsetting news came home to Emma that her baby brother had Down syndrome things got a little more complicated. Emma began to ask all the questions again about having a baby brother and her dad soon explained to her that her brother with ...more
Mariela Alfaro
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book narrates the moment in which a little girl named Emma is told she is having a little brother named Isaac. At first she is not very convinced of the idea and starts thinking about everything she could do with her little brother and is excited for him to arrive. However, when the baby is born they tell Emma he has down syndrome and Emma thought this meant she could not do anything of what she planned. Nevertheless, her dad contradicts her and tells her Isaac will be able to do eve
Vanessa Morales
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Summary: This book is about a little girl named Emma. She is very nervous and not so excited about having a little baby brother. After a while she realizes all of the fun things she can do with her new sibling. When her parents arrive with the new baby, her dad tells her Isaac has Down syndrome. Emma becomes worried that they won’t have all of the fun she imagined they would. In the end, her father explains to her they can still do all those things, she just needs to be patient with Isaac.

Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018, picture-book
A good story for older siblings of a special needs child. It's Down Syndrome in the book here, but the message is the same for any number of special needs circumstances. The older sister learns that she can plan on doing all the same things with her new brother, just that it might take a bit more patience and time. With a family member with special needs, I found it very well done, not too syrupy-sweet.
Not the greatest illustrations, but that's not really the focus of the book either. The story
Nicole Hadenfeldt
I love that this book takes the explorative imagination of a child and gives it meaning to a real life situation. The message is helpful for not only children to understand Down's syndrome, but in some cases adults too. The illustrations do a great job of telling the story as well. The images at the beginning of the story show Emma participating in the act with her little brother nearby, however, after she learns about her brother being born with Down's syndrome, the images change and she is bei ...more
Jennifer Baker
Feb 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Genre: Challenges/Issues
Awards: none
Audience: Ages 6-8
A. The challenge in the book is that the main character is looking forward to doing all these fun things with her new baby sibling and then the baby was born with down syndrome.
B. I would defend this selection because everyone can learn from this book. All students can learn about down syndrome and how even if the child is not on level developmentally they are still very capable.
C. This would be a window book because we are looking at the
Kennedy Johnson
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ecce-2201
This book is about a little brother who is digonsed with down syndrome. She learns that he is not like most children with things in life. He will need extra help when trying to do things. The little girl was trying to find things that they could do together. When she was done talking to her Dad she was confused why he could still do normal things like her. So her father told her that he just needed extra help and he would be able to do anything with her.
Janae' Hosley
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
When 6-year-old Emma's baby brother is born with Down Syndrome, she wonders what his limitations will be. Her father quickly tells her that as long as they are patient, and help him when he needs it, that he won't have any limitations at all. Answering many questions children might have about Down Syndrome, We'll Paint The Octopus Red is a sweet account of how everyone requires love and patience, no matter who they are.
Tessa Duncan
When a young girl finds out that she has a new little brother, she is upset. She quickly starts to warm up to the idea, when she thinks about what all she could do with her brother. When her father tells her that her brother has down syndrome, she is just happy to know that she will still be able to play with her brother. A great story on acceptance and normalizing special needs.
Hannah Groeschen
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I was intrigued by the title, but the story hooked me and drew me in. This book is about a little girl who just had a new baby brother. She and her father imagine all the things the two siblings can do together. I loved the illustrations in this book and how detailed they were.
Lara Lleverino
A BEAUTIFUL story about a little girl struggling with the idea of getting a new sibling when the father breaks the news that not only is she getting a new sibling the child is expected to have Down Syndrome which after some thinking the little girl doesn't see is an issue at all. Very sweet!
Katie Carter
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a useful tool to assist with the discussion of Down Syndrome. Many people stare because they are unaware and afraid of the unfamiliar. This is a heartwarming story that beautifully illustrates the normalcy of Down Syndrome.
Dec 07, 2017 rated it liked it
3 stars ...more
Julia Jasztal
Feb 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Mommy's review from 10/13/11 -

Believe it or not but when I happened to see this in the library (someone else had left it lying on a table) I was so oblivious I had no idea what it was about. I assumed it was the usual cutesy picture book about a brother and a sister. And it is... but it's more than that too.
I was actually a little shocked when I opened the book and started reading. I even hesitated more than twice in starting to read. Not that I keep anything from Julia but it happens that she'
Katie Plumley
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This narrative story chronicles a young elementary age girl who is excited about the upcoming birth of her baby brother. She lists all of the things she and her new brother will do together, i.e. eat ice cream, stamp pictures of animals including an octopus, play on the swingset, etc. When her father comes home with red, teary eyes, she finds out that her brother has Down Syndrome. Through her questioning, she and her father both discover that she and her brother will still be able to do all of ...more
Mary Beth
Oct 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
a. This is a great book! It is about a young girl named Emma who is about to get a new brother. She is so excited about the things they will get to do together like playing kickball and making funny faces at people when they ride in the car. Then, Emma's dad tells her that her new brother Isaac is born with Down syndrome. Emma is scared that she won't be able to do the things she wants to do with Isaac, but her father tells her it just may take Isaac longer to be able to do all of those things. ...more
Amy (Lost in a Good Book)
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I will admit I got a little teary at the end of this book because the message is so wonderful. Stube-Bodeen's story is about a little girl named Emma who has big plans for her new baby brother. Emma tells her dad that when the baby grows up she will play with him, read to him, and take him on plane rides and to the art festival. These plans, however, are suddenly in doubt when she discovers he was born with Down syndrome.

I loved how this introduces Down syndrome to kids. It normalises it, makes
Jenn Stephenson
Jan 29, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is about a young girl named Emma. She finds out that she is going to be a big sister to a little brother named Isaac. Isaac has Down's syndrome and Emma really doesnt like the idea at first on being a big sister. But as the story progresses she learns that as long as she helps out with teaching him how to do things like a anverage older sibling would then they will be able to do everything she has planned for them. This book gives a very good overview of what Down's syndrome really is ...more
Thomas Paul
Aug 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Six year old Emma isn't very happy about the idea of having a new brother or sister but when Emma and her dad start thinking of all the things that they can do with the new baby, Emma becomes excited at the prospect of being a big sister. When her dad comes home and tells Emma that her new brother, Isaac, has Down syndrome, Emma worries that he won't be able to do any of the fun things that she has imagined. As Emma and her dad think back over all the things they wanted to do with the new baby, ...more
Tayler Bingham
Stuve-Bodeen, Stephanie. "We'll Paint the Octopus Red." Woodbine House, Inc., 6510 Bells Mill Road, Bethesda, Md., 1998. Print. This is the story of a young girl who finds out she is going to have a baby brother. She plans all sorts of things with him. Sadly, the dad comes up to her to break the news that he will have down syndrome. The girl feels this means she won't be able to do all those things with her baby brother. However, her dad tells her he will be able to do all those things. She, ver ...more
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