Two newcomers celebrate oddity and making do with less in this story of a girl named Velvet. Unlike her peers, she wears hand-me-downs, carries her lunch in a brown paper bag, owns only eight crayons, and brings a milkweed pod instead of a doll for Show-and-Tell. Gradually her differences are seen as advantages when she wins a class drawing contest and successfully entertains her classmates at an innovative birthday party. It's unfortunate that all of Velvet's ""odd"" qualities seem to stem from having less than her classmates, who give the teacher nicer gifts, wear new clothes, and carry store-bought lunch pails--the point is as strong without emphasizing economic differences. Crayola-bright illustrations rely on the exaggeration of facial features for effect--eyeglasses as large as Velvet's face, a boy whose piano-sized smile sports braces. The story lands where it was headed; different is not odd when it's understood.