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Octopus Stew

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  31 reviews
What do you do when an octopus captures Grandma? Put on your superhero cape and rescue her! Two stories in one from award-winning Afro-Latino artist Eric Velasquez.

The octopus Grandma is cooking has grown to titanic proportions. "Tenga cuidado!" Ramsey shouts. "Be careful!" But it's too late. The octopus traps Grandma!

Ramsey uses both art and intellect to free his
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Holiday House
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  127 ratings  ·  31 reviews

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Jon Nakapalau
Be very careful - that octopus looks like he is up to no good! Great story and art!
Christina Carter
Oct 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
When our children were younger, we'd build forts, turn on flashlights to light up the night, and tell campfire-style stories right in the room our twins shared. Taking turns adding to this family crafted tale with thrilling twists, impossible feats, and great escapes. We've created characters and stories that we will never forget. That's how Octopus Stew felt. Like a family story night that had turned into a fantastical adventure.

Ramsey's Grandma decides to make octopus stew when the world
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Picture-Book Readers Looking for Humorous & Exciting Adventures
When Ramsey's painting of Super Octo gives his grandmother the idea to make pulpo guisado - AKA octopus stew - it sets in motion an incredible and entertaining adventure. Purchasing a huge octopus at the store, Grandma forgets to remove the eyes and beak, leading to a situation in which the (clearly still alive) octopus escapes from the pot and takes her hostage. Now it's up to Ramsey to figure out the octopus' weakness, and rescue her...

Apparently based upon an incident from his own childhood,
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When Grandma decides to make octopus stew, things go wildly awry. Beautifully detailed oil on watercolor paper illustrations accompany this humorous story sure to alternately scare and thrill young readers. For more humor and a familiar bedtime book, read "Looking for Bongo" by Velasquez, next.
Mary Lee
This will make a great mentor text for writing! Not until the gatefold do you realize that the main character is telling a story. So fun!
Erin Kinney
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids-books
Good book with great artwork, but blech, octopus. Leave them in the ocean.
Ramsey shares with his audience the retelling of what happened when his grandmother was making octopus stew, and was captured by the creature, and he had to rescue her. An over the top story, but fun story with the recipe for octopus stew at the end of the book.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun story about a boy, his grandma and an octopus that doesn't want to be stew. Love the gorgeous full page spreads and the excitement of the storytelling.
I am happy I finally managed to read this! I thought it was a great story - funny and a true celebration of extended family getting together to share their talents. And maybe some Octopus Stew.
Fun bilingual text full of family and fantasy.
Large and lively oil paintings keep readers' attention as they move through this culturally-rich story of adventure and family. Ramsey accompanies his grandmother to the market and then back home as she prepares a family favorite dish--octopus stew. But she forgets to remove the head and beak, and the creature comes to life and attacks Grandma. It's up to Ramsey to save the day with his quick thinking and sketching. What makes this story especially appealing is how there are two foldout pages ...more
Teresa Bateman
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Award-winner Eric Velasquez celebrates his Afro-Latino heritage in this tale of a tall tale about octopus stew. When a boy's Latino grandmother decides to make pulpo stew she won't listen to his warning. The octopus grows and grows, struggling its way out of the pot. It's massive and dangerous...or is it? The story ends well, and fold-out pages reveal a secret. The author's note at the end provide insight into his own family, and his glossary defines the non-standard Spanish used throughout the ...more
Lisa Swope
May 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Our store mascot is Karl the Kraken. He's a big black and white octopus plushie who lives in the kids section and who intermittently blogs about what he's reading and the authors who visit Bookmarks ( So to read a book in which grandma wants to make a family favorite recipe Octopus Stew, I wasn't sure I would want this book in our store. I should have known Karl knew what he was doing.

Adding to the charm of this book is its bilingual nature. The family at the root is
Jul 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
This ode to the power of storytelling is an absolute hoot! I love Velasquez's big bold illustrations with their unusual perspectives, vivid colors and wacky sense of humor. Terrific! This will be really fun for a story hour read-aloud.

Includes an Author's Note, Glossary and a recipe for Octopus Stew.
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
We thought boy, is he having a dream! A real lesson in cooking octopus, plenty of laughs and an actual recipe, which I doubt I would be adventurous enough to try.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible ode to storytelling! For all us young brown folk, this one is a solid.
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The artwork in this is stunning! It ended very abruptly, but was a lovely story regardless
Edward Sullivan
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lively, outrageous story full of Spanish phrases intertwined with English text with big, bold illustrations.
Young readers get an exciting narrative with a nice surprise in the middle with this fun picture book. Ramsey's grandma is ready to make some octopus stew (which I had no idea was really a thing). After a quick trip to the fish market, she scrubs up the octopus and puts it in a pot on the stove. Strange noises coming from the kitchen warn grandma and Ramsey that there is trouble. Readers get to see Ramsey put on his superhero cape and get to work. There is an author's note at the back of the ...more
Oct 22, 2019 rated it liked it
A fun story about a boy and his grandma -- he, dressed in a superhero cape, and she, not putting up with any flights of fancy or nonsense -- making octopus soup. Spanish phrases are interspersed, and translated immediately for the most part, but a few words remain untranslated. But that's ok, you'll get the gist. Things go badly when the octopus rises up to fight its fate. The octopus eyes staring from the cooking pot haunt me still. As a kid, this kind of thing would have scared the $#@! out of ...more
I've had this sitting on my shelf for a bit--the cover kept throwing me off so I kept picking it up and putting it back down--finally forced myself to read it, and at the end I went, "Meh." I enjoyed the storytelling aspect of it. The illustrations were colorful and dynamic, but all in all, I just did not like it. Was it the octopus aspect of the whole thing? Maybe.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this! Really fun, and I didn't see the twist coming! I liked the illustrations, and seeing a diverse family. And you could tell that this was a really personal story, with the note at the end. Bonus points for the actual octopus stew recipe in the backmatter!
A story-within-a-story of a boy telling his family a fantastical tale of his grandmother making octopus stew. Includes non-standard Spanish throughout the book and a glossary in the back.
Cute tall tale about a boy and his grandma who buy an octopus for dinner but something happens in the cooking process that’s unexpected.
The only thing I liked about the book were the illustrations. There is a boy who is apparently telling a story about his (cranky) grandma who is cooking octopus stew.

Didn't like the story.
Alyssa Gudenburr
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Wasn't my favorite.
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fun and creative
Ms Threlkeld
Dec 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Love the surprise in the middle!
Allie Outhouse
Dec 04, 2019 rated it did not like it
Too much text with a disappointing twist that doesn't add to the plot.
Oct 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: kids, picture-books
An overgrown story that highlights a fun family tradition. It has non-standard Spanish, which has a glossary in the back.
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Eric Velásquez is the illustrator of numerous books for children, including several previous collaborations with Carole Boston Weatherford. He won the John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award for his illustrations of The Piano Man, written by Debbi Chocolate. Eric Velásquez is also the author-illustrator of the Pura Belpré Illustrator Award–winning Grandma’s Gift. Born in Harlem, he lives and ...more
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