Oddrey by D. Whamond
Whamond, Dave. Oddrey. Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2012. Print
Oddrey is different. "Her father said she danced to the beat of her own drum" - and a creative and colourful dance it is. Even her dog says, "Meow". When the children build snowmen Oddrey creates a colourful igloo. When the children have light bulbs of understanding, Oddrey has an elaborate chandelier. With Oddrey, all things are colourful, different and new. It is difficult, but inspiring, to sing in the rain when everyone else is miserably wet. It is hard to be cheery when others do not understand or appreciate you. "Sometimes Oddrey felt lonely."
Everything changes when the good-natured Oddrey, cast against type as a very plain tree in "The Wizard of Oz", realizes that all is not going well and sets about helping the other students to remember their lines and dealing with a damaged stage set. Not only are her classmates grateful and accepting, they take a creative leaf from Oddrey's book and shine in their own way.
This is a book to share, for there is so much to find in pictures that express, comment on, and enlarge the story. Lonely Oddrey works a complicated cat's cradle while lines of children strictly follow each other through the play station. After Oddrey's rescue, the same area is surrounded by children, hanging from the station, skidding down the slides in all kinds of inventive dress, walking on their hands, riding unicycles, all freed to be creative and adventurous, by a happy Oddrey.
Dave Whamond's book is an engaging and witty celebration of creativity and an endorsement of being truly, and without fear, yourself. Oddrey's positive and sunny attitude enriches those around her and allows them to reach out and experiment too.
Recommendation: 4 stars out of 4
Reviewer: Andrea Deakin
Andrea has been involved with books since she was class librarian in Primary School; she later served as school librarian in schools both in England and in Canada, except for the first two years in Canada where she arrived in 1959. When she retired from teaching ( English and History) she was invited to review in February 1971, and continued to review for press, radio, and finally on the Internet (Deakin Newsletter from Okanagan College) until she retired in 2011. Forty years seemed sufficient, although she still cannot keep her nose out of good children's and YA fare.