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Pen Pals

3.42  ·  Rating details ·  187 ratings  ·  36 reviews
An octopus and an ant are paired up to write letters for a school project in this charming picture book in the tradition of Dear Mr. Blueberry.

For an entire school year, Oscar the ant and Bill the octopus send letters to each other as part of a school project.

Oscar loves table tennis, and Bill loves modelling clay.

Oscar does judo, while Bill has a garden.

Despite their
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by Aladdin
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Average rating 3.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  187 ratings  ·  36 reviews

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Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
A cute collection of penned letters between an ant and octopus. As the story progresses, the reader learns of how different these two friends seem to be, but how they find their similarities to act as a glue. Neo liked the stories, but wondered why these "text messages and emails" took so long to reach the other person. Alas, I have now come to realise that 'instant messaging' has fully arrived.
Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
This is kind of weird, but it's translated from French, so that might be why. It just didn't have the cute cleverness that you'd expect from the book concept.
Jennifer Strong
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017, children-s
I want to give this 4 stars, but the book needed more. I would've liked to have the letters tell a story. Instead they were just made of random ramblings. Which, is rather like young children, but not particularly interesting to read. Super cute illustrations though.
Lacie Griffin
Jan 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
I could use this book in a letter writing or pen pal lesson, otherwise I didn't care for it. I lost interest in the letters and what happened to the character. I also didn't like the ants middle "arms" being hidden at the desk. When he received socks from Bill it was confusing- I couldn't tell is Bill sent 8 (a counting mistake that Oscar made earlier by sending 6 mittens) or if he only sent 6. And if he did send 6, why did Oscar put them on his antenna?
Elizabeth Coates
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I was intrigued by the concept - an ant and octopus write letters back and forth for school year. However, I thought it was just too long and not that entertaining. A younger kid wouldn't be able to sit through the letters and an older kid would just be bored. It might be useful for a teacher planning a lesson on pen pals or letter writing.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Who asks their new pen pal to send them something in their second letter? Be more polite, Oscar. OK, yes, later you sent a crepe to Bill. Really? A crepe in the mail? You can't send a crepe in the mail! That's crazy!

Also the middle spread with photographs was odd ... it included objects that hadn't been mentioned yet in the text.

I did like that the objects Bill sent were so super huge to Oscar, and wish there had been more of that. Although they were able to wear the same size socks and
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
First of all, I’m currently in the crosshairs of a very stubborn ant infestation at home. I see ants when I close my eyes. I see ants when I open my eyes. I even dreamt about ants last night! So why on Earth would I now decide to read a book about an ant?? I don’t know! Clearly I am a glutton for punishment. But it was worth it in the end because this book is the very definition of adorable. It's kind of a nice hybrid between a picture book and a comic. The illustrations are simple but cute as ...more
Viviane Elbee
Oct 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book could be used when discussing letter writing with students. Since the letters cumulatively make for a longer book, this story is best for older preschoolers and elementary students.

Cute little ant and large octopus are pen pals. There’s a lot of repetition in the “writing at a desk” illustrations, but the wordless spreads that show the letters / packages being mailed are amusing.
Mar 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Longish, for students not preschoolers (as should be obvious, but some of you parents are always pushing your kids to read up and you need to stop). A bit simple, too, as there's no actual plot or conflict etc. Still, a lot of fun, and def. useful as a mentor text and history lesson (real letters, not email!).
Books with illustrations that are accumulative can be very engaging, but this one challenged me.
Simple, illustrations were just repetitive, and I tried to stay interesting in the stilted language of the letters.
The giving of only 6 mittens and the return gift of 8 socks episodes were a bit cute.
Apr 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Oscar the ant, and Bill the octopus become pen pals, and keep in touch by writing letters back and forth to each other for a year. The two become good friends, and learn a little bit about each other with each letter written.
May 28, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

I enjoyed how plausible the author made the absurd seem. And the art has a sense of humor.
Miss Ryoko
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A fun idea to tell a story, and while the illustrations were simple, they were super effective and cute!
Erin Murphy
Apr 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I thought this was a cute book but the letters seemed to drag on for a long time!
Syntha Green
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
funny and sweet
Aug 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Mind-numbingly boring
Kaitlin Eck
Nov 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
(2017) Absolutely adorable book centered around pen pals, an ant and an octopus. I love how easy it was to read and how it was entirely illustrations and letters back and forth!
Mary Lee
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-book, 2017
Ant and Octopus are pen pals.
Nov 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrensbooks
Oscar the ant and Bill the octopus are pen pals. The pen pal project was initiated in school. Important message about making connections in spite of differences.
Shauna Yusko
So, this seems to be the exact same story as Dear Dragon (Funk) but not done as well.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
My four year old really enjoyed this one. Laugh out loud funny at the end.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Story in the form of pen pal letters between an ant and an octopus. Rewritten from the French version. The two animals correspond and get together in the end of the story. Unusual amount of words and the author is the illustrator of the book, too. Illustrations are simple and easy to follow.
Angie Quantrell
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Fun book about pen pals. Written in letter format.
Hannah Poor
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gray-block-books
I love this book! It would be perfect to teach how to write letters and how to write to a specific audience. A great read aloud book for a writing block!

Author: Alexandra Pichard
Title: Pen Pals
Illustrator: Alexandra Pichard
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date: 2017
Genre: Fiction
This is such a cute book. I think that kids will like it because of the animals; and the different types of animals. One's big and the other is so small.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: recommend
Extremely sweet. I loved how detailed this book is and I also loved the ending.
Dec 27, 2016 added it
Shelves: picture-books
Super fun epistolary story with a terrific ending!
Jan 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I love the book that fosters imagination and discussion. A very sweet book with great pictures.
A very cute epistolary story. A favourite reading genre and pastime of mine!
We read the French version.
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