The Octopus’s Holiday

A Different Kind of Christmas Story

The story was a finalist in the 2018 Fence Modern Prize in Prose for Literature Appropriate for Children, judged by Daniel Handler (no winner awarded).

Christmas will never be the same again in the little town of Fishery. And it will never be the same again for you, thanks to two one-of-a-kind octopus friends named Doris and Shelly. “The Octopus’s Holiday” is not like any other Christmas story you have read. We all know fish like to swim in schools, where everyone is just the same as everyone else. For the fish, every year Christmas has to be just the same as every year before. But octopuses are different. And this year, when Shelly comes for a special holiday visit with her best friend Doris, you’ll see how different they—and Christmas!—can be. But don’t give away the special ending! 

View pages from the book

With the lush use of color and texture, you’ll pause over every page to discover all the surprising, quirky details. 

Available in hardcover and

Dive into this underwater adventure with Doris and Shelly, and you’ll find more joy and fun than anyone with eight arms could ever hold at once. O Spectacular, O Tentacular, O Christmas O!

Access Special Features:

The Octopus’s Holiday doesn’t have to happen only at Christmas!
Click here to view some amazing videos of the illustrations coming to life. 

About the illustrator

Melissa Vandiver is an artist and illustrator living in New Orleans, LA. When not painting whimsical pet portraits and characters in kids’ books, you’ll likely find her putting glitter on something, cooking a meal for a crowd, or snuggling with a tiny dog. To see more of her work, visit