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Oddfellow's Orphanage [Kindle Edition]

Emily Winfield Martin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.99
You Save: $2.00 (25%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition $5.99  
Hardcover $11.97  
Paperback $7.99  
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Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids
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Book Description

What do an onion-headed boy, a child-sized hedgehog, and a tattooed girl have in common? They are all orphans at Oddfellow's Orphanage! This unusual early chapter book began life as a series of full-color portraits with character descriptions. Author/illustrator Emily Martin has fleshed out the world of Oddfellow's with an episodic story that follows a new orphan, Delia, as she discovers the delights of her new home. From classes in Cryptozoology and Fairy Tale Studies to trips to the circus, from Annual Hair Cutting Day to a sea monster-sighting field trip, things at Oddfellows are anything but ordinary . . . except when it comes to friendships. And in that, Oddfellows is like any other school where children discover what they mean to each other while learning how big the world really is.

In Oddfellow's Orphanage, Emily Martin brings a very strange place to life with her unique style of both art and writing.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Martin’s debut features something unusual in children’s books: an orphanage that is run by kind people. Headmaster Oddfellow Bluebeard takes in orphaned children as well as individuals of all stripes, which include a boy with an onion for a head, a hedgehog, and a family of bears. After Delia arrives at this curious place, she finds that instead of math, reading, and spelling, students take lessons in fairy tales and folktales, cryptozoology (the study of mysterious or imaginary animals), and astronomy. Special occasions at the school include excursions to search for the Green Monster and Haircut Day, which comes around twice a year. Facing each chapter opener is a portrait of a single character, along with a caption, which reveals interesting tidbits: for instance, Ollie is the kind of onion that makes you laugh rather than cry. With the book’s quirky illustrations, satisfying attention to detail (pancakes come in the shapes of stars, hearts, and rabbits), and a loving family stitched together from the scraps of other families, early readers may find themselves drawn to this novel’s strange charm. Grades 2-4. --Ann Kelley

About the Author

EMILY WINFIELD MARTIN sketches, paints, and stitches to create imaginary worlds and characters. She is the author/illustrator of The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer. Her store, The Black Apple, has been featured in national publications and on TV shows, including the New York Times and The Martha Stewart Show.

Oddfellow's Orphanage is both Emily's first book for children and her first novel! The inspiration came from the real I.O.O.F. (Independent Order of Oddfellows), dancing bears, ragtime music, and magic and mysterium of all sorts. Originally, Emily painted portraits of the children and adults at the imaginary orphanage, and from the portraits the stories emerged—enough to fill a book!

Emily lives among the giant fir trees of Portland, Oregon, with her fellow adventurer, Josiah, and their cat Miette. Visit her on line at the or

Product Details

  • File Size: 8248 KB
  • Print Length: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (January 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #605,966 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful and charming February 1, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This sweet book was a pleasure to read aloud to my children, who wouldn't let me stop. We read it over two nights and they were begging for more after each chapter. The stories have just the right amount of detail for them to stay interested while also helping them imagine more. The soft pencil drawings are just precious. Having both boy and girl characters (and bears!) makes this book wonderful for young boy and girl readers. It would be a great gift. My oldest child (9) likes reading it herself. I'm sure my kids will be reading this to their children one day.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Having 8 children and home-schooled for sixteen years now, I thought I'd pretty much mined the gold in children's books by now. What an incredibly pleasant surprise "Oddfellow's Orphanage" has been.

Our 7yo son, 9 and 13yo daughters clamored to be read this book each and every night and moaned in disappointment if it was "too late to read." This incredibly unique and delightful story never disappointed us. Not only did we read a chapter each night, but afterward we spent time discussing the characters and examining each and every illustration. We decided who our favorite characters were and which ones we each wanted to be.

Never have I so thoroughly enjoyed a children's book since becoming an adult. Upon finishing the final chapter our 7yo son exclaimed, "There's just GOT to be another one!"
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oddfellow's Orphanage, A BookBandit Review May 2, 2012
Newly orphaned Delia doesn't know what to make of Oddfellow's Orphanage. She doesn't know if she'll fit in, if she'll be accepted as one of the inhabitants, if she'll feel right at home. But as the newest addition to the orphanage of the odd and abandoned, Delia quickly learns what it's liked to be loved and cared for.

In between fairy tale and cryptozoology classes Delia, not only makes friends with the other kids at the orphanage, but also finds time to go on many adventures. Adventures like a sea monster sightseeing trip and finding an endangered species right in the orphanage's backyard.

There, Delia learns about life, about friendship, but most importantly about love and acceptance. It's there that Delia learns that blood doesn't make a family, it's the people and the lives they share that does.

Oddfellow's Orphanage, written by artist Emily Winfield Martin, is a debut children's book that is uniquely charming and delightfully sweet.

Martin has created a book that is full of whimsy, but unfortunately falls short on plot. Oddfellow's Orphanage is a straight up story, an account of the character's lives within the orphanage itself. It lacked in having a visible problem and solution for said problem. As a reader I found there was no tension built, no twists, turns, or mystery. But what it did include - mini biographies of the characters, and even adventures the characters have with each other - was well written, and attention grabbing.

The illustrations featured in Oddfellow's Orphanage are exquisite.Even though they are not bright or flashy - no bright colors or larger than life pictures - but they are warm and inviting. All the illustrations are done in a sepia tone lending to the old-time feel of the story and the book as a whole.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just, Plain, Good July 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
You can't make a decent cake with just sugar; you need more ingredients than that. You can't make a "sweet" book with just sweet thoughts; you need more...something...than that.

This is a good, kind story book. It's like a fairy tale - with an onion headed boy, a hedgehog student, dancing bears, a comet, a circus. But it's set in an orphanage, and the characters are children who have been abandoned, lost and misplaced. In the background there is pain and sadness and some melancholy. But in the foreground there is hope and affection and protection and care and concern, and, perhaps most important, safety.

These are little miniatures of stories; in them the lost are found, the sad are comforted, the sick are healed. The orphans support and help and sustain each other. The adults guide and protect the orphans. This is a world of grace and mystery. Fall arrives. Christmas is celebrated. Haircut day is organized.

The style is perfectly balanced - fantastic scenes are described in a frank, realistic style; prosaic events are presented in a fantastic style. The stories, like the book as a whole, are warm and comfortable. There is no irony; the author does not distance herself from the simple task of creating these warm tales. Friendship, happiness and affection infuse every page.

The book isn't precious; it isn't loud; it isn't straining to make any particular point. I can easily imagine this as a favorite bedtime book, possibly helping to sustain the spirit of the adult reader even more than that of the young listener. It's that good and modest and honestly felt.

Please note that I found this book while browsing the local library's Kindle books, and downloaded it for free. I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Both my daughter and I are huge fans of Miss Emily of the Black Apple's work. The illustrations of this magical book are delightful and the story is packed with imaginative characters. I bought this book for my daughter's 9th birthday (along with a print from the Black Apple!) and she immediately dove into it. She read it in bed, and brought it to school to read during silent reading time. It quickly became a popular title amongst her classmates. (I read it also!) I think this would be an excellent read aloud book for younger children too. I hope there will be more in the series!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars pretty pictures
This book has a cute story. My kids liked it. It has beautiful illustrations. I really like this artist. Seeing her work on etsy made me search for the book. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
such fun
Published 1 month ago by darcell
4.0 out of 5 stars A clean and interesting fantasy story for grades 3-5
Delia, an albino, is a newly orphaned girl who is brought to Oddfellow's Orphanage. It is a place where several unusual children live--including the onion head boy, a hedgehog,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sunshine on A Rainy Day
4.0 out of 5 stars I really love this book and the illustrations
I really love this book and the illustrations, but you really don't want to cut the pages to make the dolls. Which is a little frustrating. Read more
Published 2 months ago by TheJen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very good tale.
Published 2 months ago by cpeck
5.0 out of 5 stars Huge fan!
Nice story. Beautiful illistrations. I ended up buying all her books and bought some prints from her Etsy store.
Published 3 months ago by Booniac
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful read for children and adults

I featured this book on my blog, the story was wonderful and I think adults and children alike will enjoy this:... Read more
Published 3 months ago by VMC
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book! Both kids loved it
Favorite read aloud for my 6 & 7 year old children. This book painted wonderful pictures with its text.
Published 5 months ago by Clayton C Yonker
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 months ago by Josiah Daniel
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
I didn't really enjoy this. It was not one that kept interest. I do not recommend it.
Published 7 months ago by NY reader
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More About the Author

Emily Winfield Martin makes paintings, books and other things. When she was small, she spent every moment drawing, reading, dressing rabbits in fancy clothes, and having many peculiar daydreams. When she grew up, she began to illustrate those daydreams and she created a cottage industry called The Black Apple, which sells all manner of her art and etceteras.

She works in a tiny nook of a studio filled with old children's books, wind-up toys, and stacks of fabric. She lives in Portland, Or.

You can visit her at


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