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Oddfellow's Orphanage Hardcover – January 24, 2012

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 5
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (January 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375869956
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375869952
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,070 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 blackapple.typepad.com or etsy.com/shop/theblackapple.

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 www.emilywinfieldmartin.com

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
This is a good, kind story book.
Pop Bop
The illustrations of this magical book are delightful and the story is packed with imaginative characters.
O. Baker
She got it on Christmas eve and read it by Saturday.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By brocktoon on 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tracie B. on June 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kara Lynn Russell VINE VOICE on May 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I am a little familiar with Emily Winfield Martin's work through visiting her Etsy page. I recognized the characters in the book from her paintings. In the "about the author" section at the end of the book, it states that Emily Martin is interested in vintage clothes, toys and children's books. This book has a definite vintage feel to it. Much like the original Bobbsey Twin books or the Bunny Brown and his Sister Sue books, Oddfellow's Orphange is a series of stories wherein the children participate in fun activities and have small adventures. There is little in the way of plot and the tone of the book is gentle and sweet.

The illustrations are wonderful, but I wish full color ones could have been included instead of the pencil sketch ones. I love Martin's use of color. I think it's worth a trip to her Etsy page to see for yourself.

This would be a great "before bed" book for children who still want a story but have the attention span for a chapter book. There is nothing here that will inspire nightmares. I think it will also be a hit with newly independent readers.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By seabrook on March 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am a big fan of Emily's art and of her blog, so I was excited to learn she had written a novel to bring to life some of her beautiful paintings. I do love the artwork throughout the book but the story seemed really echo-y and did not support the life that her original paintings breathed. I don't regret purchasing it, and may share it with young ones in my life, but I am keeping it for the artwork.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on 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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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N., The BookBandit on May 2, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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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