CM . . .
. Volume XXI Number 22. . . .February 13, 2015
Oddrey Joins the Team follows Oddrey and Oddrey and the New Kid; the style and quality of the picture books are consistent throughout. Consequently, if you liked the first two books, you should enjoy the third title as well. As before, there is a clear message within the story about cooperation and acceptance of individuality.
Oddrey joins the school soccer team, the Piccadilla Bees. Her friend Maybelline, who was introduced in Oddrey and the New Kid, is the star player of the team, but her efficient moves don’t feel right to Oddrey who prefers to dance with the ball. When the Bees face the Quagville Crushers, a much stronger opponent, Oddrey uses the team name to persuade everyone to cooperate: just as each type of bee has its own particular role to play in making honey, they will bring together their unique skills to score a goal. In the end, they do not win the game, but they have fun playing soccer.
While its story still has an obvious “lesson,” Oddrey Joins the Team feels less one-dimensional than the previous titles, perhaps because there are more participating characters. Because Oddrey is not the only one with a unique approach to playing soccer, her role as someone who brings the team together is emphasized over her creativity. Her teammates and coach accept her quirkiness from the beginning, as they also accept Maybelline’s bossiness (later, Maybelline must learn to pass the ball to others, although she has the role of “queen bee”). Because the tone of both text and illustration is lighthearted and humorous, the message is not overbearing for the reader. Illustrations seem to be in watercolor or colored ink, predominantly in happy greens and yellows; white space and the double spread are used to create a sense of spaciousness, so the cartoon-like movements of Oddrey and her friends do not seem frantic or crowded, even when emphasized with the use of sound effects (“BINK,” “FWIP,” “BOOT,” etc.) and motion lines. Interesting details, such as the whereabouts and actions of Oddrey’s dog, recurring bee motifs or the state of Oddrey’s flower, call for closer attention from the reader.
With its simple text and dynamic illustrations, Oddrey Joins the Team would be a good book for reading with groups.
Sae Yong Kim has an MA in Children’s Literature and is now an MLIS candidate at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, University of British Columbia, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.