Early Book Review Oddfellow's Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin

Oddfellow's Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin is a fun children's book slated for release on January 24 2012. The book follows the adventures of one mute, albino girl (Delia) as she joins the family at Oddfellow's Orphanage. The other children at the orphanage, and even the teachers, are all a little odd. The orphanage is a place for all living creatures to find a home. Its residents include an onion headed boy, a girl covered in tattoos, and a family of dancing bears. The book is told in episodic chapters, including illustrations and character summaries, detailing Delia's discoveries about her new home and family.

Oddfellow's Orphanage is not your ordinary orphanage, and its residents are not exactly normal either. The children are all different, for example one is a hedgehog and another has an onion for a head. The teachers and headmaster are all a little different too. Classes include crypto zoology, astronomy, and fairy tales. However, despite all the differences there are some universal truths to be found at Oddfellows as well: including the need for friendship, family, and a place to belong. I loved that the group forms friendships and bonds like family despite the rather large differences among them. What these children are lucky enough to learn is that the world may be large, but the people important to you are even greater.

Oddfellow's Orphanage is a good choice for those making the transition to chapter books. The story is fun, an easy read, and heartwarming. I think many children will relate to the need to feel they belong somewhere, regardless of their situation. The electronic galley I read, provided by NetGalley, included rough sketches of the artwork rather than the finished product. The pencil sketches did a wonderful job of illustrating the story, though I can only imagine that the finished product will be even better.
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