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Odd Duck Hardcover – May 14, 2013

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Lexile Measure: 540L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: First Second; 5.7.2013 edition (May 14, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596435577
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596435575
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 0.5 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,098 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 2-4-Theodora, a duck with a yen for lavender hats, stargazing, and staying north for the winter, prefers her solitary life slightly outside the duck community. She is dismayed by the grubby, flamboyant appearance of Chad when he moves in next door and populates his yard with art installations. But worst of all, he also chooses to remain at home throughout the snowy season. A story about first impressions, tolerance, and friendship, the narrative takes some time to fully click, but when it does there are many sweet touches to be found in the relationship between these odd ducks. Mostly eschewing panels and only occasionally using word balloons, this charming picture book cum early chapter book cum graphic novel has soft, clear pastel tones, strong lines, and lots of whimsical detail. Warm and with solid insight into the nature of quirk, this title will amuse most readers, and it may be a welcome balm for those who feel a bit different.-Benjamin Russell, Belmont High School, NHα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Chad is an odd duck, whereas Theodora is a normal duck; she just likes to do some things a little differently. But when the other ducks laugh at the “odd duck,” is it really Chad they’re making fun of? The creators’ separate works have long championed the individual, so it is no surprise that Varon’s gentle art and Castellucci’s nuanced writing combine in a sweet, quiet tale that celebrates the joys of being unique. Both have done graphic novels in the past; here, though, they use more of a hybrid style, alternating a more traditional picture-book layout with pages divided into panels and featuring speech bubbles. Fans of Varon’s work will love her trademark anthropomorphic characters, bright colors, and detailed but never cluttered pictures, which invite lingering over each page. Teen writer Castellucci’s name on the cover may convince some older readers to give this one a shot, but it is aimed squarely at elementary readers, who, hopefully, will soak up the message to embrace their own odd-duckness. Grades 2-4. --Snow Wildsmith

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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I love the artwork and the story.
Martha Burford
I think we all feel like an odd duck most days... I hope Cecil continues to write more stories with the same characters!
whopper jr
And the illustrations are a joy, with hundreds of details for readers to ponder in the duck universe that Varon creates.
Catherine Nichols

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Andy Shuping on May 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Theodora is a perfectly normal duck, thank you very much. She swims with a teacup balanced on head to help maintain perfect posture and stays north when the rest of the ducks fly south for the winter (why would she want to leave her home??) and there's nothing strange about that. Chad, her newest neighbor, on the other hand is a bit odd. I mean he dyes his feathers weird colors and has all kinds of weird art projects around. But...they do like some of the same things. But can Theodora ever be friends with such an odd duck as Chad?

While this is an age old story, being yourself and making friends, Sara Varon and Cecil Castellucci bring their own unique twists to the story. By creating ducks as characters that are both clearly a bit different, Cecil lets the reader see that differences can seem perfectly normal to the other person. Even better though, is that Cecil shows that being the different...isn't all that bad. In some ways its a good thing, because it means you get to experience things differently than everyone else. And you might just have a friend to acompany you along the way.

Sara Varon's normal color palette of soft pastels works well for this book, making it feel like a book from 30+ years ago. Especially with the end papers of the book, they are just absolutely beautiful and I feel like I could spend hours just looking at them. I mean they don't have a lot of detail, repeating patterns of duck characters, but the memories associated with that type of design and color are fantastic. Sara also had lots of nice details hidden in the images, such as Theodora's carpet in the bedroom that looks like moving water with a dolphin and seahorse swimming around. All in all it's just a beautifully illustrated book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on June 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Theodora has a happy, busy life. She enjoys being a duck. She routinely visits the local library, the grocery store, the craft store, and the pond. She likes swimming, reading, and looking up at the stars in the night sky. When a new neighbor moves in, she greets him with a cake she baked herself. During their first conversation, she is surprised by his appearance - he's not very tidy, and some of his feathers are dyed different colors - and his lack of manners. She thinks they are too different to be friends.

Nevertheless, Chad waves at Theodora every morning, and, when winter comes, he invites her to look at the stars through his telescope. She can name a bunch of constellations, but she's never used a telescope before, and she can't believe how beautiful her beloved stars look! The two ducks bond over this common interest and start talking. They find they have other things in common, and they become friends.

But one day, while passing by a group of ducks, another duck calls out, "Look at that odd duck." Theodora thinks they are making fun of Chad and she feels sorry for him. Meanwhile, Chad thinks they were calling Theodora odd, not him. The two argue, then split up and storm off to their separate houses.

Theodora slips back into her daily routine, going to the library, the grocery store, the craft store, and the pond by herself. Even though she used to do all of those things alone, now she feels pretty lonely. Do the two ducks become birds of a feather once more, or are they fair-weather friends? You have to read the book to find out!

Author Cecil Castellucci (Boy Proof, The Queen of Cool) often populates her novels and other works with offbeat characters who aren't defined by their unconventional ways but instead take them in stride and/or with pride.
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Format: Hardcover
Summary: It’s obvious to the reader that Theodora Duck has quirks, and plenty of them, but Theodora views herself as perfectly normal. The one who seems weird to her is Chad, her new next-door neighbor. She stays as far away from him as possible until winter arrives, and the two of them are the only ducks who didn’t fly south. One night, they both happen to be out stargazing, Chad offers Theodora a look through his telescope, and a friendship is born. All is well until the other ducks return, and Chad and Theodora overhear one say, “Look at that odd duck.” Chad thinks they’re talking about Theodora, Theodora is sure it’s Chad, and a fight ensues. Fortunately, both of these odd ducks come to their senses and realize the joy of friendship and of being yourself.

Pros: I laughed out loud more than once over this book, plus I loved the message. It’s written in a mix of picture book and comic book form, which is an appealing format for kids. It would be a good step up for a child not quite ready for a full-length chapter book.

Cons: At 90 pages and 6 chapters, it’s a bit long to read out loud like a picture book. The comic part makes it a little tricky, too. Still, the message is such a good one and the book is so entertaining, it would be worth taking the extra time.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I rated Odd Duck with 5 stars because I feel that the story brings a much-needed message. These two ducks find their way through a negative viewpoint or two, instigated by a comment they overhear, and discover that their differentness will not end their friendship. They value one another and realize that there is room for more than one viewpoint. The illustrations are great, adding so much to the story. I would recommend this book to anyone, since the fresh, breezy illustratiions carry the story along and points are made in an easy, humorous way.
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