Odd Duck by Cecil Castelucci and Sara Varon, 96pp, RL 2
Odd Duck is the newest book from my favorite of favorites, Sara Varon. Varon has teamed up with YA author Cecil Castelucci for yet another slightly off center, silly-sweet story with a subtle, superb message. Looking back over her works, friendship seems to be an ongoing theme for Varon and that is definitely the case with Odd Duck.
Theodora has a routine and her days are filled doing the things that bring her joy in her own precise manner. When Chad moves into the empty house next door he brings some questionable items and annoying habits with him but, Theodora "prided herself on being a gracious bird. She was determined to make the best of a bad situation." She bakes him a cake and, when she delivers it to him it is such a strange experience that she determines she will not be friends with him.
However, things change. After living next to Chad for a while, their paths cross again and soon Chad is showing Theodora things she had never considered before and her world is opening up in wonderful ways. But, this is a Sara Varon graphic novel so you know there is a a big left-turn coming.
While Theodora thinks she has expanded her world to include this odd duck, she is shaken when she overhears a comment. Chad hears the same thing. Each duck thinks Velma's words were directed at the other duck and their friendship is shaken.
I don't want to give too much more away, but I love how Castelucci and Varon resolve this dilemma. Also, Odd Duck is a beautifully produced book that is worth buying in hardcover. The case (I just learned that this is the term for the hard cover of a book usually hidden by the dust jacket) has a great illustration on it, as do the end papers! There is even a bonus page, "How to Drink Tea Like Theodora," that, besides tea brewing instructions, has hand-drawn labels created by Varon that (if you own the book) you can cut out and attach over the label on the tea you are brewing! Varon also, very thoughtfully, instructs readers to make a COPY of this page if they have borrowed Odd Duck from a friend or the library...
Sara Varon's books reviewed at books4yourkids.com
Picture books by Sara Varon
More graphic novels by Sara Varon
Source: Review Copy