by Dave Whamond
While young readers have been enjoying Dave Whamond's Oddrey (Owlkids, 2012) (reviewed here) as part of the Blue Spruce reading program, Oddrey has been going to school and embracing her uniqueness, as do her peers who are all a little different and willing to explore their individuality. So the addition of a new classmate just gives Oddrey one more friend to encourage and with whom to play. But, while Maybelline is well-travelled and filled with stories, she reveals her intrinsic need to lead and direct all her classmates in their explorations. This approach to friendship is not one that Oddrey appreciates very much, though she is generally too good-hearted to say anything. But a field trip to the zoo has Oddrey questioning the extent and truth of Maybelline's adventures and seeing first-hand how Maybelline's adventures really turn out.
Oddrey is the same joyful child of the original book and her generosity of spirit has no bounds. Dave Whamond's illustrations are so detailed and playful that Oddrey's take on situations and people is always apparent and entertaining. With his thoughtful and unambiguous text that still allows for personal interpretation by young readers (they will all know of or been a new kid), Dave Whamond will have children smiling, laughing and wondering. Oddrey and the New Kid is playful both in its delightful illustrations and story, even if some of that play may be imagined.