Books by Barbara Odanaka

CONSTRUCTION CAT by Barbara Odanaka
Released: Oct. 9, 2018

"Solidly built for enjoyment by construction kids and feline friends alike. (Picture book. 2-7)"
Construction Cat and her kitty-cat crew are on the job! Read full book review >
Released: June 9, 2009

Havoc erupts in high-spirited fashion when the animals' bus breaks down outside the local restaurant. In lively rhyme, raccoons lead the boisterous menagerie into the cozy café. Unfortunately for the chef and waiter, manners are lacking as the animals descend en masse. The cow skateboards down the stairs, the elephant band stomps in with tubas and the ostrich squawks for cherry strudel. The waiter's spill sets off a disastrous chain reaction, causing the server to sneeze peas from his nose. When the critters are removed for their shenanigans, the staff rejoices until a dazed bovine emerges from the mess. The rhythmic phrases combine creative wordplay and natural pacing. Changing fonts emphasize the dramatic images. While never cluttered, White's vibrant art conveys the disheveled environment. Muted, colorful backgrounds support the fluid mixed-media characters. Colorful splotches reinforce the sloppy surroundings; messy tables and flying food add amusing details. There are not too many cooks in this kitchen, as high-interest humor creates a rollicking read-aloud. (Picture book. 4-8) Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

Fans of Kate and Jim McMullan's I Stink! (2002) will welcome this look-alike, sound-alike return visit, as a pair of bright green trucks with backward-looking red eyes and huge mouths (even, in one startling scene, an oversized tongue) consume with relish a smorgasbord of broken furniture and garbage: "Rotten eggs? / Apple cores? / Pack 'em in—the engine ROARS. / Stinky diapers? / Coffee grounds? / Load it UP and smash it DOWN." It's all served up by a crew of cheerful pigs in overalls as an audience of dogs (plus a pair of exuberant piglets in an upstairs room, awakened by the din) looks on. Coloring the urban backdrops purple for this predawn banquet, Hillenbrand effectively captures the ickiness of all the soiled or overripe "entrées," but leaves the sidewalks and battered cans neat and litter free as the trucks careen off to their next stop. Young audiences will be happy to crash and bash right along with these familiar mechanical Wild Things. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >
SKATEBOARD MOM by Barbara Odanaka
Released: May 1, 2004

Odanaka's tale has a good measure of whimsy—a mom hijacks her son's skateboard, which he has just received as a birthday present, and sets about strutting her stuff, revealing a hidden skateboarding past—but the poetry can be disappointing. The rhymes have off-beats with all the fluidity of square wheels—" ‘See you later,' she said, skipping out the door. / ‘See you later,' she said, not a single word more"—and the writing can display a certain rigor mortis: "Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack / ‘Mom, can I have my skateboard back?' / Clickety-clack. Clickety-clack. / ‘Please, may I have my skateboard back?' " Yet, the nutty story survives even these inadequacies. Adinolfi's art, on the other hand, is steadily fun—offbeat in the right ways—with the characters looking like they've been ironed onto the page, somehow frozen in motion. (Picture book. 4-7)Read full book review >