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The Octonauts

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The Octonauts
OctonautsTitleCard.jpg
Left to right: Kwazii, Barnacles, and Peso
GenreChildren
Animation
Action
Adventure film
Created byMeomi: Vicki Wong
& Michael C. Murphy
Written byStephanie Simpson (head writer)
Billy Aronson
Glen Berger
Ian Carney
Cydne Clark
Cusi Cram
Sarah Durkee
Steve Granat
Carin Greenberg
Jonathan Greenberg
Peter Hirsch
Adam Idelson
Dave Ingham
Susan Kim
Catherine Lieuwen
Myles Mcleod
Allan Neuwirth
Sascha Paladino
Gabe Pulliam
Directed byDarragh O'Connell
Henry Lenardin-Madden (uncredited)
Creative director(s)Stephen Robinson
Voices ofSimon Greenall
Rob Rackstraw
Paul Panting
Keith Wickham
Jo Wyatt
Teresa Gallagher
Michael C. Murphy
Theme music composerDarren Hendley
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Ireland
Original language(s)English
No. of series4
No. of episodes116 + 11 specials (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Kurt Mueller
Stephanie Simpson
Cathal Gaffney
Darragh O'Connell
Jackie Edwards (CBeebies)
Producer(s)Adam Idelson
Karen Ialacci
Gillian Higgins
Running time65 x 11 minutes
3 x 23 minutes
Production company(s)Chorion (2010-12)
Silvergate Media (2012-present)
Brown Bag Films (2010-2018)
Mainframe Studios (2020-present)
Release
Original networkCBeebies
Original release4 October 2010 (2010-10-04) –
present
External links
Meomi official website

The Octonauts is a British children's television series, produced by Silvergate Media for the BBC channel CBeebies, and based on the children's books written by Vicki Wong and Michael C. Murphy.

The show follows an underwater exploring crew made up of stylized anthropomorphic animals, a team of eight adventurers who live in an undersea base, the Octopod, from which they go on undersea adventures with the help of a fleet of aquatic vehicles. Although its technology is fictional, the exotic creatures and locations that the crew encounter are based on real marine animals in their natural habitats. The show's subject matter has been compared to that of Star Trek and Thunderbirds[1] blended with Jacques Cousteau.

The show was animated in Ireland by Brown Bag Films for its first four series.[2] The show was renewed for a fifth series in 2018, with Canada's Mainframe Studios taking over animation work.[3][4]

Characters

Main Characters

The Octonauts, consisting of the Octopod crew and captain, are the recurring main characters.

Name Rank Species Voice cast Description
Barnacles Captain Polar bear Simon Greenall (speaking)
Ross Breen (singing)
Barnacles is the brave polar bear captain of the Octonauts. He knows how to drive any vehicle and is strong enough to lift a giant clam. Catchphrases: "Octonauts, let's do this", "Sound the Octo-Alert!", "Octonauts, to the launch bay!" and "Hold on, this could get bumpy".
Kwazii Lieutenant and Cryptozoologist Cat Rob Rackstraw A cat who speaks in a Cockney accent. Kwazii is a daredevil cat with a mysterious pirate past. He believes in many sea monsters such as the Nackerwhack, Tri-Toothed-Terror, Giant Shrimp Monster, Monster of Creepy Cove and others and likes to drive fast in the Gup-B. In the episode "The Octonauts and the Giant Spider Crab", it is revealed that he has a fear of spiders. Catchphrases: "Shiver me whiskers" and "Yeow!".
Peso Medic Penguin Paul Panting (UK)
Wayne Grayson (US)
He is a penguin with a British accent (Spanish accent in the US version) and the medic of the Octonauts. He is not fond of scary situations, but if someone is hurt or in trouble he can be the bravest Octonaut of all. He has a younger brother called Pinto. Catchphrase: "Flappity flippers!".
Inkling (Prof.) Oceanographer and Founder Dumbo octopus Keith Wickham An octopus who speaks in a posh accent. Inkling brought the Octonauts together, to study the oceans and have adventures. Catchphrase: "Fascinating!"
Shellington (Dr) Biologist Sea otter Keith Wickham A sea otter who speaks with a Scottish accent. Dr.Shellington is a biologist who assists the Octonauts on missions. He is not a very good driver and once crashed the GUP-D. Catchphrase: "Jumping jellyfish!" and "Fascinating".
Tweak Engineer Rabbit Jo Wyatt
Jaimie Kelton (US, season 1)
A rabbit who speaks with a Southern-US accent. Tweak lives and works in the launch bay. She often invents things like the GUP-X, GUP-S, the Octo-Max suit, and the Friend Finder she made for her friend, Sandy the leatherback sea turtle. She often refers to Captain Barnacles as "Cap". Catchphrases: "Right away, Cap!", "...faster than you can say 'buncha munchy crunchy carrots'!", and "Oh, me, oh, my!".
Dashi (Previously Sauci) Computer programmer and Photographer Dog (Dachshund) Teresa Gallagher (UK)
Mary Murphy (US, seasons 1-4)
Jenny Yokobori (US, "The Caves of Sac Actun"-present)
A dog who speaks with a New Zealand accent (American in the US version). Dashi is the photographer for the Octonauts, and takes care of all the computers aboard the Octopod. She's also a professional surfer. Catchphrase: "Already on it, Captain!"

Note: Recent UK editions of the books changed Sauci's name to Dashi to match the television series.[citation needed]

Tunip Chef and Horticulturist Vegimal Michael C. Murphy Tunip is half-tuna, half-turnip, but has the outward appearance of a harbor seal mixed with a turnip. He loves to make kelp cakes and to work in the greenhouse. He often faints at shocking news. Tunip the Vegimal is the Octonauts' head cook and gardener. He is a Vegimal, a half-animal, half-vegetable creature capable of breathing on land as well as underwater. Tunip is very childish and innocent, always wanting to help the Octonauts in any way he can. He is the smallest main character in the Octonauts crew. Aside from cooking the meals, Tunip works in the garden, cultivating vegetables he can use to cook meals. His two favorite meals are fish biscuits and kelp cakes. Tunip, like all Vegimals, speaks Vegimalese. Since he was born, his first words were "Cheepa cheepa!, Cheepa cheepa!" and "Zuupa zuupa!"

Vegimals

Vegimals are half-animal, half-vegetable creatures. The vegimals were discovered by Shellington as eggs attached to the side of the Octopod. To protect them he brought them into his lab, where they hatched a few days later. After a few weeks they established themselves as an integral part of the crew.[5][6] They primarily speak Vegimalese, a language made of chirps and warbles (heavily-accented English with inter-mixed gibberish), though they also speak a limited amount of English (with an accent). Shellington is the only Octonaut who has some fluency in Vegimalese.

Name Taxonomy Description
Albachoy half-bok choy and half-albacore
Barrot half-bass, half-carrot. Although nervous, he can go super fast in an emergency.
Carprika half-paprika and half-carp
Charchard half-chard and half-char
Codish half-cod, half-radish. He is very clumsy and also causes accidents.
Grouber half-grouper, half-tuber. He is big and can eat almost anything.
Halibeet half-beet and half-halibut
Maccoli half-broccoli and half-mackerel
Perchkin half-pumpkin and half-perch
Pikato half-tomato and half-pike
Tominnow half-minnow, half-tomato. She is the littlest one, but she is also a daredevil.
Tunip half-tuna, half-turnip. He is a recurring main character.
Salepeño half-jalapeño and half-salmon
Sharchini half-zucchini, half-shark
VegiBot a vegimal robot[7]
Wallabaga half-rutabaga and half-walleye
Yamchovy half-anchovy and half-yam

Recurrent Minor Characters

Name Animal Relationship
to Octonauts
Description First Seen
Calico Jack Cat Kwazii's grandfather Aa a pirate, his exploits are frequently talked about but he is assumed long-dead until he finally makes an initial first appearance[8]. In real life, the pirate Calico Jack was the creator of the Jolly Roger, though the Octonauts character's name might also be an allusion to the Calico cat. Special 3[9]
Pinto Penguin Peso's little brother A young penguin who visits in season 1 - episode 24[10], season 1 - episode 32[11] and Special 1[12]. He initially aspires to be a pirate like Kwazii but later decides he'd rather be a medic like Peso. Season 1 - Episode 24 (24)[13]
Sandy Sea turtle Friend A good friend of Tweak's. She swims long distances and makes appointments to meet the Octonauts in several episodes.
Boris Narwhal Friend A friend of Captain Barnacle's from when he was young. Boris remains in the Arctic but the Octonauts meet him in several episodes.
Pearl sea otter Shellington's married sister She recently had a baby named "Periwinkle". The Urchin Invasion
Bianca polar bear Captain Barnacles' twin sister Special 7[14]
Orson and Ursa polar bear Bianca's cubs. Captain Barnacles' niece and nephew Special 7[15] and season 4 - episode 7 (99)[16]
Professor Natquik Arctic fox Captain Barnacles's old friend A polar explorer Special 8[17]
Ranger Marsh Rabbit Tweak's father A park ranger Episode 9[18]
Koshi Dog (Dachshund) Dashi's little sister Season 4 - Episode 17 (109)[19]

Vehicles

Vehicle Purpose Resemblance First Appearance
Octopod The Octonauts' mobile home base and the biggest vehicle. It has almost unlimited range, as it may be nuclear powered. Giant Octopus "The Whale Shark" (Season 1, episode 1)
GUP-A A propeller-powered vehicle and Captain Barnacles' favorite. It is occasionally modified by Tweek during the series:-
1) a turbo booster for greater speed ["Giant Whirlpool" (Season 1, episode 21)]; and
2) extra lights to help see in the midnight zone, which flash when the vehicle's power is running low ["Midnight Zone" (Season 1, episode 18)].
Anglerfish "The Whale Shark" (Season 1, episode 1)
GUP-B Kwazii's favorite. This vehicle is a turbo sub so is the fastest of all GUPs. When Kwazii loses this GUP, it is revealed that he himself painted the shark teeth. It is occasionally modified by Tweek during the series:
1) a set of fully adjustable pectoral fins and a tail fin, to enable it to emulate the flying fish's movements when launching itself out of the water; and
2) an eject button to escape from the GUP in an emergency.

3) a tiger shark camouflage mode to scare away other predators (due to the fact that tiger sharks can eat almost anything).

Tiger shark Intro Credits, but substantively in "The Undersea Storm" (Season 1, episode 2)
GUP-C This strong vehicle has a towline and is powerful enough to tow an elephant seal or the entire Octopod ["Narwhal" (Series 1, episode 17)]. It can also be used as an icebreaker when fitted with a special reinforced prow. Blue whale Intro Credits, but substantively in "The Undersea Storm" (Season 1, episode 2)
GUP-D This multi-purpose vehicle has two claws, two drills and six legs. It is also Tweak's favorite. Manta ray (or a crab when legged) Intro Credits, but substantively in "The Crab and Urchin" (Series 1, episode 3)
GUP-E This is an ambulance GUP and colored green. A tank at the vehicle's rear can be filled with water for creatures with gills. Guppy Intro Credits, but substantively in "The Orcas" (Season 1, episode 7)[20]
GUP-F This was a pedal-powered metal-framed vehicle and the very first prototype GUP built. In its only appearance ["The Speedy Sailfish" (Season 1, episode 10)], it was used to round up the runaway GUPs A-E. It was destroyed by a hurricane and converted into an artificial reef ["The Artificial Reef" (Series 3, episode 4)] Clownfish The Speedy Sailfish (Series 1, episode 10).
GUP-G This is a ship with "sturdy legs for walking on ground and a special tank for carrying large sea creatures". The GUP-G was built "to travel in water and on land, just like a salamander". Salamander Only appearing in the book entitled, "The Octonauts & the Growing Goldfish" (3 July 2014[21][22], 25 August 2014[23] & 5 June 2018[24]).
GUP-H This is a helicopter. It is used to soar above the sea, and watch the animals hop in and out of the water. Dragonfly The Poison dart frogs (Series 4, episode 1).
GUP-I This is an polar exploration station and rugged vehicle Water bear Operation Deep Freeze (8th special).
GUP-J This is a small, but powerfully-fast, hovercraft. Tree frog Only in the toys made for the series.[25]
GUP-K This is a half air-boat, half-tank vehicle that can float on surface. It was used to save Tweak's hometown the Everglades from fire in "The Great Swamp Search" (9th Special). Crocodile or Alligator "The Great Swamp Search" (9th Special).
GUP-L This is a sea plane. Flying fish Only in the toys made for the series.[26]
GUP-M This is a rugged three-wheeling buggy, with a creature carrying sidecar, designed to scout and search swamplands or maneuver through muddy marsh. Mudskipper Only in the toys made for the series.[27][28]
GUP-O This is a jet ski designed be able to mimic the movements of an orca whale, including a tail which moves up and down as it travels. Orca whale Only in the Season 4 end credits & the toys made for the series.[29][30]
GUP-P This is a first response emergency vehicle and medical station (complete with X-Ray machine), allowing Kwazii can treat and transport sea creatures to safety. A beak-like hatch exists at the nose of the vehicle for capturing sea creatures being rescued by the vehicle. Parrotfish "Octonauts and the Great Barrier Reef" (11th Special)
GUP-Q This is an undersea exploration vehicle for on search and rescue, especially in dark caves. It is structured like a hammerhead shark, featuring a flat head with search lights for eyes. Hammerhead shark Only in the toys made for the series.[31][32]
GUP-R This vehicle (pronounced GUP-ARRRR by Kwazii) is designed for rescue mission in and out of water. It possesses a dorsal fin and wings that lower for hydroplane mode. It can deploy rescue buoys. Sailfish Only in the toys made for the series.[33][34]
GUP-S This is a propeller-powered amphibious Antarctic exploration vehicle, which can split into 2 sections, like the GUP-X. The main body of the vehicle is an underwater Octo-Shuttle, which has 2 pairs of continuous track wheels for travelling on the Ocean floor, an antifreeze system to prevent the ship from freezing over (modelled on arctic fish which have antifreeze in their blood), a research lab, a sleeping quarters, and even a hot cocoa machine. The detachable cockpit forms an above-water snowmobile called the Octo-Sled, with a tusk-like ice-penetrating heated drill at its nose, and an extendable rescue line. Accessories for this GUP include an ice-proof camera. Swordfish or Narwhal "The Over Under Adventure" (6th Special).
GUP-T This is a rescue rover, which travels on the seafloor, on rotating tread wheels, scouring the ocean floor for waste recycling. The Gup-T Rescue Rover is equipped with two sea slime cannons, containing a special sanitising slime that the Octonauts use to break down harmful pollutants in the ocean and rescue contaminated creatures. It has middle and rear doors that open in order to safely transport wounded creatures. Sea pig Only in the toys made for the series.[35][36]
GUP-U This is an agile vehicle that can travel fast and also stand in patrol position, giving the crew a better view for scanning and spotting creatures in trouble. Frogfish Only in the toys made for the series.[37][38]
GUP-V This is a vehicle designed by the Vegimals and made from improvised materials. Train A Very Vegimal Christmas (5th Special)
GUP-W This is a mobile emergency medical centre, specially designed to help treat the world's endangered coral reefs and their inhabitants. The front can open, creating a ramp that can also function as a launch bay for other GUP vehicles. It is used by Peso to rescue injured creatures, which are stored in a rescue tank. Whale shark "Octonauts and the Great Barrier Reef" (11th Special)
GUP-X This is an armored, powerful and sturdy tracked vehicle presented to Captain Barnacles as a Christmas present from Tweak. It can split into 3 sections, for instance, a glider, the 'Octo-Ski' and its central main section with the caterpillar tracks. Horseshoe crab The Great Christmas Rescue (Series 1, episode 52)
GUP-Y The vehicle is a deep sea excavation vehicle for working around the Deep Sea Octolab in the Mariana Trench. It has long arms, ideal for hauling, lifting and even scooping up sea materials, including slimy rocks. Yeti crab Only in the toys made for the series.[39][40][41]
Deep Sea Octolab This is a moveable base from which the deepest parts of the ocean can be studied. It is dome-shaped and stands on springy legs to cope with subterranean tremors. N/A The Mariana Trench Adventure (4th Special)
Octo Servicing Station This is a vehicle servicing scaffold constructed on the seabed. It's used to refurbish the Octopod and manufacture the GUP K and GUP H. N/A Season 4 and The Great Arctic Adventure (7th Special)

Books

The original books were first published in the US by Immedium in 2006, and were republished in the UK by Harper Collins in 2009. Six titles by Meomi have been published:

  • The Octonauts & the Only Lonely Monster, about an Architeuthis (Giant Squid).
  • The Octonauts & the Sea of Shade, about a world where everyone's shadows have gone missing.
  • The Octonauts & the Frown Fish, about a glum-looking catfish.
  • The Octonauts & the Great Ghost Reef, about coral bleaching.
  • The Octonauts Explore the Great Big Ocean, about the search for Tunip the Vegimal's home.
  • The Octonauts & the Growing Goldfish, about Dunkie, a giant goldfish who won't stop growing.

A series of shorter books based on individual episodes from the TV series is being published by Simon & Schuster. These titles can be distinguished by the "As seen on TV" label on the covers and are not written or illustrated by Meomi.[42] The books have the same titles as the episodes they are based on.

TV series

In 2010, The Octonauts was adapted into a 52 episode CGI animated television series co-produced by Chorion and Brown Bag Films. It first aired in the UK on 4 October 2010 on CBeebies, a BBC television channel for the under 7's. The first series ended in February 2011, but continued to be aired as repeats. A second series of 22 episodes commenced in November 2012.

The Octonauts had its US premiere on the Disney Channel on 9 January 2012[43][44] In September 2014, Silvergate Media announced its sale of season 4 to the Disney Channel, to be aired in 2015.[45][46] Many of the characters' voices were redubbed to give them American accents—Hispanic in the case of Peso and Pinto—although Captain Barnacles, Kwazii and Professor Inkling retained their original British voices.[47]. Another notable difference between the British version and the US version is the absence of the “Creature Report” feature at the end of each episode. This educational and melodic recap of the adventure is missing from the UK version, but available to view in Britain through Netflix, which streams the American version.

In Australia, in 2014, the Octonauts became the second most watched children's TV show in the country, seen daily on ABC2 by 257,000 viewers nationally.[48]. By season 4, the Octonauts had been picked up in more than 100 countries, including RTÉ Two (Ireland), Treehouse TV (Canada), ABC Television (Australia), TF1 (France), SuperRTL (Germany), CCTV (China), Karusel (Russia), Disney Junior (Spain, Portugal) and SVT (Sweden).[49]

The show has been translated and shown in French (TF1), Spanish and Portuguese (Discovery Kids Latin America), Finnish (YLE TV2), Welsh (S4C) and Slovakian (STV 2).[50]

The series was made with the help of marine biologists Dr. Lara A. Ferry-Graham and Dr. Michael H. Graham, who had previously worked on Finding Nemo.[1]

Episodes

The TV show is episodic, with each 11 minute episode seeing them encountering an unusual but real sea creature as they explore strange underwater worlds. Often they must discover a vital biological or behavioral fact about that creature to rescue it or themselves from danger. The stories usually feature three main characters: Captain Barnacles, Kwazii and Peso, with the other five Octonauts acting in supporting roles.

The opening theme tune finishes with the chant "Explore! - Rescue! - Protect!", the Octonauts’ motto.

Creature Reports

Creature Reports are one-minute, musical, poem-like sequences which recap the facts learned about the sea creature that the Octonauts encountered in the associated episode. In the UK, these were shown as separately scheduled items, but in the American version they were used at the conclusion of each regular episode. The exception is the episode of "The Surfing Snails", where it was replaced with a surf rock song called, "Surf's Up, Bubbles Up (Ready to Ride)".

The Creature Report's addictive, repetitive nature has been postulated to have psychological benefits. For children, it provides a sense of predictability that promotes good feelings and mental balance. For adults, it provides a sense of virtual participation via the principle of involuntary musical imagery.[51]

The initial working title of the 2017 American Super hero film "Thor: Ragnarok" was "Creature Report", a reference the Octonauts[52][53], which acted as the movie production's code word[54].

Video Services

Seasons of The Octonauts are available on variety of streaming and direct purchase video services.

Streaming Services

Service provider Country availability Content
ABC iView Australia
  • Season 3 (episodes 73, 74, 78, 82 & 84-91)
  • Season 4 (episodes 93-101, 103-110 & 114)[55]
  • Special 8[56]
Netflix Worldwide
  • Seasons 2-4
  • Special 3, 5, 8 & 9[57]
Stan Australia
  • Season 4
  • Specials 3-5 & 7[58]

Direct purchase services

Service provider Country availability Content
Apple TV+ Worldwide
  • Seasons 1-4
  • Specials 1-9[59]
Google Play Worldwide
  • Season 1 (except episodes 49 & 50)
  • Season 2
  • Season 3 (except episode 76)
  • Season 4 (except episode 115)
  • Specials 1-9[60]
Microsoft Store Worldwide
  • Season 1 (episodes 22–28, 29–35 & 36–42)[61][62][63]
  • Season 4 (episodes 99, 102, 112, 113, 116)[64]

Google Play and Microsoft Store organise their episodes into packages, similar to the region 4 DVD titles.

Package Episodes
Meet the Octonauts Season 1 (1-7)
To the Gups! Season 1 (8-14)
Ready for Action! Season 1 (15-21)
Sound the Octoalert! Season 1 (22-28)
Jumpin' Jelly Fish Season 1 (29-35)
Shiver me Whiskers Season 1 (36-42)
The Great Penguin Race Season 1 (43-47) & Special 1
GUP X to the Rescue! Season 2 (51-55) & Special 2
Amazon Adventure Season 2 (56, 57, 62, 63) & Special 3
Calling All Gups! Season 2 (56, 64, 69–71, 83 & 92)
Deep Sea Adventures! Season 2 (60, 61) & Season 3 (73, 79, 80) & Special 4
Flappity Flippers Season 2 (episodes 66-68), Season 3 (episode 75, 84-86)
Great Arctic Adventure Season 2 (episodes 66-68), Season 3 (episode 75, 84-86) & Special 7
Here Come the Vegimals Season 3 (episode 74, 78, 87-89) & Special 5
Over Under Adventure Season 3 (episode 94, 97, 98, 101) & Special 6
The Great Swamp Search Season 4 (episode 96, 100, 103, 105-107) & Special 9
Octopod Mystery Season 4 (episode 93, 95, 104, 108-111)
Operation Deep Freeze Season 4 (episode 99, 102, 112, 113, 116) & Special 8
ABC Kids Season 4 (episode 48)

DVD Releases

Reception

The TV series was well received when shown on CBeebies in the UK and by ABC in Australia. According to the authors' website, it was the No. 1 pre-school age show in the UK, and the first pre-school show to be ranked in the top ten by older audiences (aged 3–4 and up).[65] The show was the top-ranked ABC programme for 5-12 year olds in January 2011 in Australia, with the ABC calling its first month an "unprecedented success online and on-air".[66] It has been rated 7.4 out of 10 on IMDb.[67] The Octonauts DVD boxed set was 4th best-selling Children's TV DVD at Amazon UK as of 7 April 2013.[68]

Awards and nominations

In 2013, Octonauts was nominated for two awards: an International Emmy Award in the "Kids—Preschool" category[69] and an Irish Film and Television Award in the "Best Children's/Youth Programme" category.[70]

In 2017, the series took home the Annie Award for Best Animated Television Production in the Preschool category for the episode "Operation: Deep Freeze".

Year Award Category Nominee Result
2013 International Emmy Award Kids-Preschool Series in general Nominated
11th Irish Film & Television Awards Children's/Youth Programme Series in general Won
2017 45th Annie Awards Best Animated Television Production "Operation: Deep Freeze" Won

Spin-offs

The Octonauts brand has been licensed by the production company for numerous spin-off activities. These include Octonauts Rollercoaster Adventure, a themed rollercoaster within the CBeebies Land of Alton Towers theme park and themed bedrooms with the CBeebies Land Hotel. There is also a travelling live show called Octonauts Live, which has toured in the U.S.[71] and other countries.

An Octonauts app was launched for iOS on 17 November 2016, produced in partnership with Night and Day Studios.[72]

References

  1. ^ a b interview with executive producer Kurt Mueller BBC Press Office
  2. ^ Octonauts Work - Brown Bag Films
  3. ^ "Silvergate Media to Produce 'Fashion Ally' for Nick".
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  5. ^ "The Octonauts and a Very Vegimal Christmas". Octonauts. Season Special. Episode 5. 10 December 2013. Nickelodeon.
  6. ^ Meomi (2013). The Octonauts Explore The Great Big Ocean. HarperCollins Children's Books. ISBN 978-0007510610.
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  8. ^ "Octonauts and the Amazon Adventure". Octonauts. Season Special. Episode 3. 1 January 2013. Nickelodeon.
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