Oddfellow's Orphanage

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4.5
 
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Oddfellow's Orphanage
Age Range
8+
Release Date
January 24, 2012
ISBN
0375869956
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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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Charming
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
5.0
ODDFELLOW'S ORPHANAGE is a charming, magical little book with the same kind of lyrical, otherworldly quality as the Series of Unfortunate Events, but without any of the darkness of that particular series. Each character, from the orphans to the orphanage staff members, are vivid, distinct, and interesting. Ms. Martin begins each chapter with a portrait of a character and a brief biography. The portraits, along with the other illustrations scattered throughout the book, are sepia toned and lovely, lending a quaint, old-fashioned charm to the book.

The main narrative character is Delia, a recently orphaned albino girl who doesn't speak. We see episodes from her first year at the orphanage. Each episode is full of charm, good spirits, and a beautiful acceptance of children (and adults!) who are far outside the world's norm. How a strange collection like this came under one roof is a mystery, and I would've loved a little bit of information on how Headmaster Oddfellow always knew when an extraordinary child had been orphaned. Also, Delia immediately accepts her new life and is happy. We don't see grief over lost parents at all. While this book isn't built for heavy grief and difficult adjustments, I would've liked just a bit more in the story so that young readers who've experienced loss might see themselves in the pages.

Those are small detractions,however. This book is lovely, magical, and endearing. My eleven year old son read it and loved it as much as I did. I recommend it.
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