Sunday, March 25, 2012

Oddfellow's Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin

Delia is a very quiet little girl; she never says anything and never talks to others. She's just moved into a very different place: Oddfellow's Orphanage. It's home to a unique group of students, teachers, and animals. Delia isn't sure how she's going to fit in with all of these people (and animals), but slowly she realizes that she's found a new kind of family who accept her just as she is.

Thinking about booktalking this book, it would almost be impossible not to sound like SNL's Stefon. This book has everything: an albino child with braids, a family of dancing bears, a well-dressed hedgehog who likes to eat, courses in cryptozoology, a boy with an onion for a head, bear-drawn carriages, a tattooed girl, Haircut Day (it's that day where twice a year the headmaster announces that everyone is going to get a haircut). There's whimsy and oddity and a sweetness. It also has a streak of sadness running though it (the children are orphans and have faced tragedy and loss), and this grounds the book from being too over-the-top and spinning off into a endless circle of cuteness. Information about the orphanage and its inhabitants is parceled out slowly over the course of the book, often coming between the chapters. The episodic nature of the story is great for readers who are still getting used to longer chapter books, and any fans of Martin's art will find lots to pore over. I'm excited to see more from this author and illustrator, so I hope she has another book coming out soon.

Find out more about Emily Winfield Martin at her website. She also has a shop that features art from and inspired by the book.

I received a review copy from NetGalley courtesy of Random House Children's Books.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer by Emily Winfield Martin
Wildwood by Colin Meloy
The Girl Who Circumvented Fairlyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

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