Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Oddly






Candlewick Press

Joyce Dunbar; Illustrations by Patrick Benson

This is an apt title, as this book is definitely filled with odd little characters. Fortunately, they are also sweet and adorable, which makes their oddities that much more endearing. You can tell with one glance at the cover what you are in for - both by title and illustration.

There are four main characters: the Lostlet, the Strangelet, the Oddlet and a little boy. The Lostlet aimlessly twirls a golden leaf, not quite sure what he is hoping for. The Strangelet clutches a smooth white pebble, dreaming of the unknown. The Oddlet dances in the wavelets with his pink shell, wishing for ... what? Each feels an empty place in their heart that their special possessions cannot fill.


A little boy comes running down the beach, the sight of which shocks the creatures. Never in their lost, strange, odd little worlds have they ever laid eyes on a boy before. And this is one distraught, lost little boy. The little boy knows exactly what he is hoping and wishing for. He wants to be home with his mom, surrounded by her love. The Lostlet, the Strangelet and the Oddlet are mystified by these words. One by one, they offer their treasured possessions to the boy in an effort to make him feel better. In return, the boy shows them love. The Lostlet becomes a Foundlet, the Strangelet is transformed into a Snuglet and the Oddlet is now known as a Huglet.

Yep, it's a strange little story with crazy little characters. They aren't recognizable as any animals we might be familiar with, and yet they are still oddly (to borrow a term) cute. The Lostlet has furry stripes and a pointy nose, while the Stranglet sports crazy green fur and what looks to be a broccoli crown atop his head. The Oddlet is blandly colored, but pleasingly plump and soft.

This goes to show that love can transform even the oddest and strangest creatures into happy beings. This is a gentle story that children will certainly embrace. The ending puts a great emphasis on how content a loving home can make us all feel.
 

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