Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Odd Dog Out learns to embrace her individuality

Odd Dog Out, by Rob Biddulph, (Dec. 2019, HarperCollins), $17.99, ISBN: 9780062367266

Ages 3-7

In a society where all dogs wants to fit in, one dog stands out. The athletes wear stripes; the businessdogs wear suits and derby hats; the scouts and sailors wear their uniforms; our Odd Dog Out, sporting a multicolored knit cap and matching scarf. No matter what she tries to do, though, she just doesn’t fit in, so she strikes out for somewhere more amenable. Finding Fabulous Doggywood, she discovers dogs that rock her style! But she notices another dog who goes against the grain, and realizes that there’s nothing wrong with being different. She returns home to a warm reception, and that a little of her uniqueness has rubbed off on the populace: more dogs are starting to discover their own individual style, too.

This rhyming story carries a sweet message about being yourself and embracing standing out rather than blending in; it also shows how even the smallest change can work in a group, encouraging tolerance and transformation. A sweet story, Adorable digital weiner dog art, and bold, bright colors, and this is a cute book for storytime.

Originally released in the UK in 2016, Odd Dog Out has been shortlisted for a host of awards, including the Independent Booksellers Award. It’s also received the Bishop’s Stortford College Festival of Literature Picture Book Award and the UK Literacy Association’s Student Shadowers’ Vote Book Award. Rob Biddulph’s author page includes free downloadable activities and coloring sheets. U.S. publisher HarperCollins has a downloadable coloring sheet, too! Read and display with Peter Brown’s Mr. Tiger Goes Wild for another story about an animal who sees things differently.

Posted in Early Reader, Fiction, Preschool Reads

Spork shows readers that there’s a place for everyone

sporkSpork, by Kyo Maclear/Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, (Apr. 2017, Kids Can Press), $8.95, ISBN: 978-1-77138-805-4

Recommended for ages 4-8

One of the most maligned utensils in history has its moment in the sun with Kyo Maclear’s Spork. His mom’s a spoon. Dad’s a fork. And poor Spork doesn’t fit in with either group, no matter how hard he tries. He tries to cover up his tiny tines, to fit in with the spoons; he wears a pointy hat to emphasize those tines to hang with the forks – neither attempt works. Just as he’s resigned to languishing in the utensil drawer, someone comes along that shows Spork that everyone has a place and a purpose.

Spork is adorable. It’s a story about standing out and finding your own value, just as you are. It’s a sweet story with a strong message about distinctiveness and the beauty of diversity. Isabelle Arsenault’s illustrations are soft, sweet, adorable; loaded with personality and feeling, love, and ultimately, joy.

Put this one in your collections, for sure. Read it, have a spork workshop where kids can personalize their own Spork. File down the edges – some of those plastic sporks can be a little sharp; for younger readers, print out a paper spork template, like this fun one from the Kingdom Hearts Wiki, or this really cute stock photo. Put out crayons, yarn, pom poms, stickers, whatever you have to let the kids personalize their Spork. Enjoy!

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Image source: KyoMaclearKids.com

Author Kyo Maclear has an author webpage with a book trailer for Spork and some fun Spork facts. Kids Can Press has great educator resources, including a One-of-a-Kind certificate you can hand out after your Spork workshop and discussion points for before, during, and after the storytime.

Previously published in hardcover, Spork received a starred review from Kirkus and multiple awards, including the 2011 Bank Street Children’s Committee Best Children’s Book of the Year and the 2010 Outstanding Book for Young People with Disabilities.