For Oddrey to remain odd, she is going to have to hear the beat of a far different drummer.

ODDREY AND THE NEW KID

In Whamond’s Oddrey’s return, she must contend with a little touch of competition for the limelight.

Oddrey is not so much a fruitcake as an original. She takes the path less traveled. Sometimes it feels a bit like attention-seeking behavior, though, to her credit, she seeks attention for all her friends and classmates, too. In this story, she comes up against not exactly a nemesis, but a serious rival: Maybelline. Maybelline has lots of wild tales—she and her father traveled the four corners to find ancient artifacts in dangerous situations—to wow her classmates. She has so many wild tales that Oddrey gets suspicious, and she isn’t happy with Maybelline’s bossy ways on the playground. Then comes a school visit to the zoo, and Oddrey is able to reassert her not only strange, but now heroic character. Although Whamond’s artwork is a pleasing welter of colorful dabs and active lines, his story is achingly black and white. Readers know from the outset that poor Maybelline’s comeuppance is a done deal—she is too snooty by half—so there will be no surprises here. And Oddrey is too self-conscious about being the maverick, which doesn’t make her much of one; she is not a bohemian, she is a prima donna.

For Oddrey to remain odd, she is going to have to hear the beat of a far different drummer. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-926973-90-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2013

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THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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