Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Top This? Oddrey and the New Girl by Dave Whammond

Oddrey was always a bit different from the other kids at school.

Other kids just go down the twisty slide. Oddrey slides through a wormhole into another galaxy.

But Oddrey's classmates have learned to appreciate the rhythm of that different drummer, and Oddrey does her part to see that there's never a dull moment in her class.

But then the class gets a new girl--a vivacious but bossy redhead named Maybelline who claims the spotlight with some incredible stories which she shares with relish. To hear her tell it, her dad is a regular Indiana Jones, and the two of them have adventured all over the world, from deep sea treasure dives to the uncovering the lost secrets of cavernous crypts. The class falls for Maybelline's preposterous sagas hook, line, and sinker, and only Oddrey knows hyperbole when she hears it. On the bus ride to the zoo, the other kids' eyes get big at each adventure Maybelline tells, and Oddrey's eyes begin to glaze over. What a bunch of big fibs!

"Is this story really true?" she asked.

"Of course it's true," Maybelline replied. "My dad and I have adventures all the time. See that monkey over there? I'm going to rescue it!"

Maybelline graps a dangling vine and swings into the monkey enclosure, where a rotund monkey is stuck inside his tire swing. Unfortunately, she arrives at the purported rescue tangled up in her vine. Now she and the monkey are both stuck.

But Oddrey, armed only with a purple umbrella, leaps into the fray. She untangles Maybelline and with her umbrella as a lever pops the portly monkey out of the tire.  But now both girls are trapped in the monkey pit.

Thinking quickly, Oddrey grabs her classmate, and shoves the swing into a trajectory that enables her to hook the top of the bars with her umbrella handle. She drags the still speechless Maybelline up a giraffe's neck and over the wall--where they find them on the wrong side of a warthog! Oddrey's inverted umbrella comes in handy to pole vault the two girls out of the compound and back with their class, all agog at what they've just witnessed.

Will Oddrey's derring-do rescue finally put the kibosh on Maybelline's one-upmanship? Sadly, no.

"That was my best adventure YET!" Maybelline said.

Even Oddrey seems temporarily to have met her match in Dave Whammond's latest, Oddrey and the New Kid (OwlKids Books, 2013). Featuring unapologetically cartoonish kids and quick-cut action, this sequel will appeal to fans of Whammond's first book, Oddrey, (see my 2012 review here) and inspire fans to look forward to a third book in which Oddrey perhaps finds a way to upstage her rival.

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