Henry Holt & Company: The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi

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The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness

Readers who think of the octopus as only a sea-dwelling monster or a seafood delicacy will be astounded by naturalist Sy Montgomery's peek into the lives of these reclusive, intelligent creatures.

The moment she met Athena, a giant Pacific octopus, at the New England Aquarium, Montgomery fell in love. She knew the basics about octopuses--they can change their color, re-grow limbs, taste chemicals through their skin, squeeze through quarter-sized holes, lift 30 pounds with a single sucker, and engage in play and problem-solving behaviors--but wanted to know more. Although Athena died soon after their meeting, the "alien's kiss" of her tentacles so captivated Montgomery that when a new octopus arrived, she continued visiting and formed relationships with aquarium staff and their eight-legged charges. In her quest better to understand the world of these graceful invertebrates, Montgomery became certified to dive, attended the Seattle Aquarium's Octopus Symposium and spent countless hours with octopuses Octavia, Kali and Karma at the New England Aquarium.

Always lyrical and at times almost worshipful, Montgomery's descriptions of her encounters with these charming cephalopods and their surprising capabilities will make readers fall hard for an animal many regard with horror--and long to walk arm in arm, in arm, in arm. --Jaclyn Fulwood, blogger at Infinite Reads