________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 23. . . .February 15, 2013



Dave Whamond.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2012.
32 pp., hardcover & ePDF, $17.95 (hc.), $11.95 (ePDF).
ISBN 978-1-926973-45-6 (hc.), ISBN 978-1-926973-52-4 (ePDF).

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 3-5.

Review by Megan Sorenson.

*** /4



Oddrey had always known she wasn't like everybody else.

Her dad said she danced to the beat of her own drum. Her mom said she always liked to do the unexpected.

Her dog, Ernie, said, "Meow." (Even Oddrey's dog liked to stand out from the crowd.)


As her name might suggest, Oddrey has always been a bit different from everyone else. Whether she's building pyramids with her peas, juggling her bathtime bubbles, drawing blue apples during art class, or wearing her single trademark daisy on the top of her head, Oddrey enjoys doing things in her own unique way. Unfortunately, her classmates view her activities with a wary eye, and when Oddrey tries to infuse some personality into the tree costume she'll be wearing for the school play, her teacher actively tries to quash her creativity. But when Oddrey's ability to think for herself helps to save the show, the value of individuality becomes clear to everyone.

internal art     Oddrey is chock-full of spunk and originality, with a delightful flair for the dramatic, although her extreme wackiness comes across as somewhat one-dimensional. While the book's message is fairly pointed, Whamond's humour keeps his text from seeming overly didactic. With its emphasis on being true to oneself and embracing difference in others, Oddrey will certainly help to satisfy the steady demand for picture books that introduce the concept of individuality. A nice feature of Whamond's story is that it adeptly balances the importance of independence and teamwork. Although Oddrey is initially disappointed not to get a major role in her class's production of the "Wizard of Odd," she still believes that she has something valuable to contribute, deciding to be the best tree she can be, and using her talents to encourage her classmates when they are struck with stage fright on the night of the show.

      Whamond's cartoon illustrations lend considerable appeal to the story. These watercolour and ink images are full of eye-catching colour, and the numerous comic touches that Whamond includes fit perfectly with the tone of the text. Full and double page spreads and sequences of spot illustrations are used to great effect, providing a lot of visual variety and liveliness. The text is well suited to a read-aloud, and the large, bright images will certainly engage larger storytime groups. However, the illustrations also contain a wealth of detail that rewards a more careful examination. For instance, children will enjoy discovering the kid growing an impressive nose-sicle in a wintery playground scene, or pointing out all of the weird and wacky ways that Oddrey's classmates begin to express themselves in the story's grand finale of glorious zaniness.

     A comic tale that is full of good fun.


Megan Sorenson is a librarian from Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364
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