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Dive into this sweet and sensory journey through one boy’s imagination.


About the book

After discovering an octopus in the rock pools at the beach, a boy wonders about all the fun adventures they could share if he took the octopus home. From multi-award-winning author Claire Zorn comes this gentle tale of friendship and understanding.

No Place for an Octopus
Claire Zorn
UQP, November 2019, $24.95


What young readers are saying about ‘No Place for an Octopus’

‘I liked all the creative and colourful illustrations—I could see every little detail. It showed me that everyone has a place they belong.’—Imogen, age 9

‘I love the peek-a-boo cover. It’s just like looking in a real rock pool! It was funny seeing the octopus at the movies.’—Ned, age 7

‘The pictures are beautiful. I love how the boy was looking after the octopus and how he decided that the octopus should live in a rock pool.’—Lucie, age 6

‘I like the illustrations, the colours, the end papers and the way the story is told.’—Patrick, age 7

‘The octopus is funny.’—Sylvie, age 3

‘I loved the message that everything has a place where it belongs, and everything the octopus needs is already in the rock pool. Everything has a place where it is happy.’—Max, age 9


Praise for ‘No Place for an Octopus’

‘I’ve always loved Claire Zorn’s magical way with words and now her stunning illustrations have gone straight to my heart.’—Megan Daley, Children’s Books Daily blog

‘A simple story about an unusual friendship between a boy and an octopus. This picture book … will appeal to children who like to explore. Four stars.’—Books+Publishing


About Claire Zorn

Claire Zorn is the author of three novels for young adults: The Sky So Heavy, The Protected and One Would Think the Deep. Published to critical acclaim both nationally and internationally, her novels have won multiple awards, most notably the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for Young Adult Fiction, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards—Young Adult Fiction Prize, the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards for Young Adult Fiction and the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year: Older Readers (twice). 


Interview with the author

How did you come up with the idea for No Place for an Octopus?

I began writing No Place for an Octopus because I have always been captivated by octopuses; they are such bizarre creatures and scientists are continually making new and unexpected discoveries about them. I set out to see an octopus the way a child might: as a source of wonder. Children often seek companionship with creatures adults would ignore or consider inappropriate pets. I wanted to engage with a child’s  love of the absurd by placing the octopus in all sorts of silly scenarios, like on a rollercoaster or at the cinema. Within that premise I also sought to create an exercise in empathy where the child is able to identify the octopus’s feelings about the situation it finds itself in.

You’re well known for your YA books. What made you decide to create a picture book?

I’ve wanted to create picture a book since I was in primary school. I was into drawing and painting way before I considered writing as a profession. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and it feels far more natural for me to work in a visual medium. Truth be told I’ve been trying to find a way to illustrate a picture book for about 30 years and after three novels I felt I finally had the opportunity!

Tell us about the illustration process: what inspired you?

As an illustrator, rock pools are an endless source of inspiration. The colours and tiny creatures which can be found there are captivating and beautiful. As for the octopus, I enjoyed the challenge of expressing his emotions using only his eyes and eyebrows and found it so fun to have him look directly at the reader, thus bringing the child themselves into the story.

 What is it that you love about octopuses?

Octopuses are capable of learning from experience and have been observed collecting and using tools such as coconut shells to build fortresses. They have neurones in their arms, which means they are almost entirely one big multi-limbed brain, and they can ‘see’ with their skin. There are many accounts of octopuses dismantling pumps in aquarium tanks in order to escape and once freed they will often use drain pipes in an attempt to make it to the ocean. Like dogs, they have to be kept amused in captivity otherwise they make their own fun and become destructive.

Any favourite beaches or rock pools?

I’m very lucky to live on the coast, so I have a lot of opportunities for rock pool expeditions! The best rock pools I’ve ever found are at Bawley Point on the NSW South Coast. It’s the only place I’ve seen octopuses in the wild, and not just one variety but several. Octopuses are camouflage experts so it takes quite a while to spot them but they are fascinating to watch, they move so fast!


Connect with Claire

Twitter @ClaireZorn

Instagram @claire_zorn

Facebook @Claire Zorn Author


Point of sale

Bookmarks, posters, and stickers available upon request.


Reading copy giveaway

Be one of the first to read No Place for an Octopus. Email with ‘No Place for an Octopus’ in the subject line for your chance to receive one of five copies.




Contact us


Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

Editorial assistant
Anthea Yang

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