Book Spotlight: Inky The Octopus

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Inky The Octopus by Erin Guendelsberger
Art by David Leonard
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Pub Date: April 4, 2018

Inky the octopus escaped miraculously from the National Aquarium of New Zealand in 2016. The lid of his tank was left slightly open by mistake one night, and Inky squeezed through the opening. He slid down the side of the tank, slithered across the floor, and crammed through a six-inch-wide drain hole that led out to sea. How was he able to do it? Octopuses like Inky are known to be great escape artists, able to sneak through openings as small as a coin. Octopuses have a beak on their underside where their eight arms meet. The beak is the only hard part of the octopus’s body, so an octopus can contort itself to fit through nearly any space wide enough to fit its beak. Also, octopuses have no bones! Having no skeleton or backbone makes squeezing through small spaces easier. Inky isn’t the only octopus to pull off an amazing escape. In fact, he isn’t even the only octopus from New Zealand! Sid the octopus tried to escape from the Portobello Aquarium in New Zealand several times before aquarium workers decided to release him back into open waters in 2009. Sid’s predecessor, named Harry for Harry Houdini, used to sneak out of his tank to eat crayfish from a neighboring tank. Perhaps Inky is eating crayfish now as he enjoys life in the open sea!

small leaves deviderAbout the Book

Inky is bored with aquarium life—he wants to start a new adventure in the ocean! But just how can an octopus in a tank get to the open seas…? Inky is not just a character from a tall tale –he’s the real-life escape artist from the National Aquarium of New Zealand. One morning in April of 2016, the aquarium’s keepers discovered that Inky was missing. His tank-mate Blotchy stayed behind, but the keepers traced Inky’s tracks to Hawke’s Bay. This story chronicles the adventure that the real-life Inky might have taken on his escape to freedom in the open ocean!


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About the Author:

Erin Guendelsberger writes stories and poems. Her work has appeared in picture books and magazines. She studied writing at Hamline University and Bowling Green State University. She now pursues adventure in Ohio with her husband, daughters, dog, and cats.

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