The Octopus, Dadu and Me
Lucy Ann Unwin, illustrated by Lucy Mulligan
Twelve year old Sashi’s Dadu (grandfather) has dementia and it’s getting worse. He becomes agitated suddenly, sometimes violent, and now doesn’t recognise his family. So, after a very difficult visit to the care home where he lives, Sashi’s Dad has come to a decision: no more visiting.
Sashi is devastated and her relationship with her Mum and Dad becomes increasingly strained: They just don’t seem to understand how she feels or even want to listen to her. Surely they realise what a very special bond she and Dadu (an erstwhile engineer) have built up over the years: how can they not see this decision as a betrayal of that loving relationship, Sashi wonders.
Endeavouring to make her feel better, her parents take Sashi to the local aquarium and there she encounters Ian, an octopus. Like her Dadu, Ian seems trapped in the wrong place, She decides the creature is indicating to her that it wants to be set free. She begins to channel all her feelings into planning so to do and she enlists the help of two really good friends, Hassan and Darcie.
This compassionate debut story shows a girl using her creativity and imagination to help her process her feelings about Dadu
and her character feels totally credible.
Lucy Mulligan’s black and white illustrations capture Sashi’s creativity in drawings of some of her comic strips and other art.
Prepare to be engulfed by the tentacles of this book from the outset and have a box of tissues at the ready as you read.