Books by Elena Odriozola

Released: Sept. 6, 2010

British television writer MacRae's first foray into picture books personifies the source of a few common childhood mishaps as "The Opposite," a doughy, beak-nosed imp who does just the reverse of what little Nate intends. The creature, having already delayed Nate's getting up, reappears atop a counter in a saucepan hat at breakfast. Nate, always a careful pourer, watches as, "instead of the milk pouring down, it poured up, splashing against the ceiling and then dripping down all over the tablecloth." At school, during a chaotic painting session, Nate discovers how to outsmart The Opposite—by saying the opposite of what's needed. "The work I have done today is messy and untidy," he opines. Voilà! "Nate's painting was now as tidy and perfect as you please." Odriozola's staid watercolor-and-ink pictures depict curiously expressionless white faces with tiny eyes and feverish red cheeks. Nate's leonine profile becomes a wide oval full on, with a mere dash for a nose. Despite a sunny color palate and appealing patterns, the mannered art flattens, rather than elevates, this one-joke text. (Picture book. 5-7)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

In this bland but worthy original tale old, Babba Zarrah sees that young Nikolai has a hole in his shoe and, having no other wool, secretly unravels part of the blanket she spreads out when children gather to hear her stories to knit him a pair of warm socks. As she sees others in need, the blanket mysteriously continues to shrink until it's gone. When the mystified neighbors at last put two and two together they band together and unravel parts of their own blankets to give Babba Zarrah the wool for a new story blanket. Odriozola populates the small village setting with solemn, moon-faced figures, dresses the comfortably rounded Babba Zarrah in elaborately patterned housedresses and depicts both the old and the new carpets as colorful patchworks. In the end Babba Zarrah spots a hole in a young listener's sweater just as she's relating a new story about a community where everyone shares with everyone else—so much for the new blanket. A low-key discussion starter. (Picture book. 6-8)Read full book review >