Arlo Draws an Octopus

If you’re looking for a book that discusses creativity and self doubt, I have the perfect pick for you today! Arlo Draws an Octopus by Lori Mortenson is a humorous, uplifting picture book perfect for young readers who might be struggling to believe in themselves.

We follow along as a young boy named Arlo sets out to draw an octopus. He gets off to a rocky start when he thinks his octopus’s head looks too much like a hill, and he doesn’t feel any better about things as he draws the legs and suction cups. Despite his attempts, Arlo just can’t seem to draw his octopus quite the way he sees it in his head. I don’t want to spoil the twist in this one, so I will just say that Arlo thinks he can’t draw an octopus until he meets one in real life.

The illustrations by Rob Sayegh Jr. are wonderful and really bring the story to life. My favorite pages are the ones with Arlo’s drawings, but I really love the way the crayon drawings are incorporated throughout the entire book.

Arlo Draws an Octopus is told with humor and encourages young readers to roll with the punches when things don’t turn out how they expected. It is a great addition to any child’s library, but I think it would be a very helpful resource in classrooms. You can pick up your copy of Arlo Draws an Octopus wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Lori Mortenson is an award-winning children’s author of more than 100 books who lives in Northern California. Please visit her website at to learn more about her work.

Rob Sayegh Jr. is an author, illustrator, and former toy designer based in San Francisco. To learn more about him and his work, please visit his website at

Thank you to Abrams Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Arlo Draws an Octopus. It was a delight, and I can’t wait to see what Arlo draws next.

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