- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Series: The Oddmire (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers (July 16, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1616208392
- ISBN-13: 978-1616208394
- Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,031 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Oddmire, Book 1: Changeling Hardcover – July 16, 2019
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“Ritter crafts a well-paced adventure filled with whimsy and peril, in which the bonds of family and love prove stronger than any spell or curse. With memorable characters—especially the irrepressible protagonists, who make a delightful team—and an atmospheric setting, this is a strong series opener.”
“Set in a magical world filled with incredible creatures from folklore, this fast-paced fantasy will keep readers turning the pages as they follow the twins through the dark and mysterious woods. Unique characters with complex personalities will give readers insight into the feelings and actions of not only Tinn and Cole and their mother, but the creatures—both good and evil—they encounter on their journey. A captivating series opener.”
—Booklist, starred review
“Fans of Michael Buckley’s ‘Sisters Grimm’ novels will delight in this fast-paced, page-turning fantasy . . . A must-buy for any collection and a title that will lead readers to other classic titles used as source material.”
—School Library Journal
“A delightful series opener.”
“Ritter invests the novel’s questions about biological identity and birthright with equally powerful affirmations of bonds forged by familial love . . . The snappy, humorous dialogue and shifting perspectives keep the pace lively, and readers can look forward to learning more about Fable in the next installment.”
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This is the delightful beginning to a new series about goblins who seek to restore magic to the Wild Wood.”
“Ritter’s brand of magic here is a gift for all readers of the fantastical—young and old alike.”
—The Mountain Times
“A great adventure that keeps you guessing!”
From the Author
William Ritter is an Oregon educator and New York Times best-selling author. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark. The Oddmire is his first series for middle-grade readers. Visit William Ritter online at rwillritter.wordpress.com and find him on Twitter: @Willothewords.
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Cole and Tinn are twins but not just ordinary twins, one is a changeling, but since they look so much alike nobody knows which one. Annie remembers quite well that she only gave birth to one boy, but now she has two. It happened when the little goblin who was trying to steal her baby gets interrupted and by then the changeling has already changed and he can’t remember which one is which and has to leave them there.
Now the boys are almost thirteen and Kull needs his changeling as the magic is disappearing in the wild woods. There is also something in the deep dark that is waiting for them as well. Kull leaves them a message to come to the woods so he can get his changeling or all the goblins will die including the changeling. Cole and Tinn decide to go because they are curious and want to know but at the same time they don’t. While they are on their way following the map they hear a cry and find a bear cub in the Oddmire (a very nasty lake) and decide to help it out, then they are almost attacked by the mama bear and so they run. This vears them off the trail and of course they lose the map. They meet up with a young girl in the woods who says she knows the way over the Oddmire and shenanigans ensue as they try to figure out how to find Kull.
Meanwhile, Annie wakes up to find her boys gone and finds out they have gone to the Wild Woods and starts after them because she finds the note with a map. She ends up finding Kull but not her kids and has to work with him to find them.
I really liked the characters in this story. Cole and Tinn are brothers who knows one is different but that has never stopped them from being best friends. They do everything together and the reason it was so hard to tell which is which is because they both get up to no good and when one is hurt the other one gets hurt in the same spot. So poor Kull could never figure it out was he watched them grow. Annie is fiercely protective of both her boys and doesn’t care that one might be a goblin, she raised them so they are hers. Even the mama bear and her cub which I won’t say any more about show a great family dynamic.
Speaking of families I think that is one of the reasons I enjoyed this so much as it shows that you don’t have to be blood to be family. Annie knows one of those boys is not really hers in the sense that it’s a goblin, but she raised them and to her both are her boys. She couldn’t unlove one because he ends up being something else. The protectiveness she has towards her family was great and the same goes for the mama bear ( who not only is protecting her family but the forest) and cub.
It was a little slow at the beginning but it has some backstory to build up to the fun adventure side of it but overall I thought it was a fun Middle Grade book that I am sure any young reader would love to read. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Story: Tinn and Cole are twin brothers - except they both know that one is a goblin 'changeling' who should have replaced the other before they could meet as infants. But a bungle by the goblin Kull meant that the human baby was not taken and the boys grew up close as twins. The boys are happy sharing their life together, unaware that the lack of stolen human taken to the other realm means an imbalance and that the magic of the wild woods is waning - a sure death for the magical creatures who dwell there. Years later, Kull comes back to address his changeling and bring the changeling twin back to his goblin people; the only problem is that no one (even the boys) know which is the human and which is the changeling. It's up to the both to enter the Oddmire and find out before it is too late for the magical creatures who dwell there.
Most of the book is taken from the perspective of the boys and their mother Annie. Annie loves both her children equally; so much so that when the boys run to the forest at the behest of Kull, she follows close behind. Along the way, they encounter hinkypunks, fairies, goblins, a witch queen, and more.
The storytelling is creative and well written; it feels very much like a tale told from the perspective of a 10-15 year old: from the boys' interactions with their mother to how they address the challenges presented. All along, they are both pondering who is the changeling, neither sure if they hope it was them or their brother. It made for some interesting questions, especially since each of the twins' personalities (unlike their features) are slightly different.
Ritter's Jackaby series was great and here he seamlessly moves into the children's fiction genre. This first book's story arc is discovering whether Cole or Tinn is the Changeling. It looks like future volumes will address the issue of the waning magic and loss of magical creatures. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.