May 2013

Let your freak flag fly

By Cecil Castellucci
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Graphic novel meets picture book in Odd Duck, a humorous and heartfelt story of friendship. Theodora is a creature of habit who spends each day shopping and visiting the library before heading for home, where she always makes the same wish: “Theodora wished that nothing in her happy life would ever change.”

Soon a moving truck arrives next door, disrupting her happy life and depositing all manner of oddities: smelly chairs, umbrella sculptures and a giant cardboard chicken. Though Theodora is worried, she is a gracious bird, and she bakes a cake for her new neighbor, Chad. She tries to look beyond his oddly colored feathers, lack of manners, splashy swimming and loud construction jobs, but her only hope is that Chad will fly south with the other ducks when winter comes.

Chad isn’t bothered by the cold, however, and that allows this odd couple to develop a friendship. Starting with their mutual love of constellations, the two ducks end up having lots in common. Chad and Theodora spend all their time together until one day, a comment from other ducks threatens their friendship. The comment? “Look at that odd duck!”

Each thinks the comment is aimed at the other, causing a rift between them. It takes some serious soul-searching to allow these true friends to mend the split, understanding that they are both odd in their own ways.

Readers who are struggling with friendships will be heartened that these ducks are able to deal with their differences. Kids with a quirky sense of humor will be drawn to the graphic elements but will stay for the endearing story.

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Odd Duck

Odd Duck

By Cecil Castellucci
First Second
ISBN 9781596435575

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