written and illustrated by Dave Whamondpublished by OwlKids Books, 2012
From Amazon:From Blue Spruce Award–winning author-illustrator Dave Whamond comes the story of Oddrey, a young girl who is a little bit different from everybody else. Every aspect of Oddrey’s world is a study in playful curiosity. Her adventures and flights of fancy, however, are often a source of some teasing at the hands of her classmates. Her technicolor snow sculpture has the rest of the playground gaping in disbelief. Her drawing of blue apples is met with a stern look from her teacher. But Oddrey, never one to let anything get her down, faces all of these discouragements with optimism and offhanded grace.
So when her class production of The Wizard of Oz is cast and Oddrey is given the rather spiritless role of a tree, she decides to make the best of the situation and vows to be the most unique tree ever. Sadly, her teacher has other ideas, and Oddrey dons an uninspired costume and sways in the back row. But when her classmates start forgetting their lines, knocking down props, and suffering from stage fright, Oddrey steps in to save the show — not by stealing it, but by helping her classmates rise to the occasion, much to their relief and delight. Full of witty, energetic, and vivid illustrations sure to resonate with young readers, Oddrey is an endearing story with a timeless message of how the misfits in our midst can be the ones we most often misjudge.
My Thoughts as a Writer:Oddrey is a great example of how the text leaves room for the illustrations. The illustrations are full of humour and really make the story come alive. The title was unique and caught my attention, reminding me of the importance of a good title.
My Thoughts as a Teacher:This story has a great message for students that it’s okay to be different and to be yourself. It also reminds readers that it’s okay to take risks sometimes, like Oddrey does in the play.
This book would be useful for introducing a discussion or writing activity about what children think makes them unique. An art idea to go with this book would be to create your own “tree” to show what is unique about you…the way Oddrey creates her very creative tree in the story.
This book is one of the nominees for The Blue Spruce Award in the Canadian Library Association's Forest of Reading 2014.