The Books

Cowboy and Octopus

by Jon Scieszka
Illustrated by Lane Smith

One Potato Review

Deadpan and seemingly random. What came first, the pictures or the story? Or the fever dream? This is like something you jot down to remember in the middle of the night, but the miracle here is that it was ever seen to execution, by the author, the illustrator, and whatever junior editors probably had a lot of explaining to do. Because none of these stories (there are six, very short, and loosely connected) delivers a conflict exactly, or resolution, and the jokes never end where you’d think. Scieszka keeps you puzzling here, but it’s a pleasure to sort through the pieces. There’s certainly some kind of message about tolerance to be derived from all of the misunderstanding – over chow-time, the weather, knock-knock jokes, and halloween costumes – but the gift of this book, and its conclusion, rests finally in the honesty that makes even the unlikeliest of friendships worth preserving.