Thanks, @umutdulger , I think I'll try finishing even if it's after the contest ends. I need to finish SOMETHING!
@Johanna-Kim and @Gary-Wilkinson , those are all excellent suggestions - thank you! I'll work on getting those arms in better positions to show movement and tension in holding on.
I wasn't sure how to handle the seahorse because they are quite stiff looking in reality, but you're right that in a children's book - and especially in this cartoony style - I can make him move more. The "smile" looks weird to me now, tho. Taking Gary's suggestion of choosing who is in charge will help. If it's the octopus, I think the seahorse wouldn't have much facial expression.
I had considered having the octopus holding onto his hat, but thought it was more silly if the hat was flying off. Again, I think it depends on who is in charge - focal point, really.
Great pointers! I hope I can make this a better image now. Thank you!