Review: Odd Dog Out by Rob Biddulph
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Wunderkind PR and HarperCollins Publishers. Thank you!
Publication: December 3, 2019 by HarperCollins
It’s a dog’s life in the big, busy city, but there’s one lonely pup who doesn’t quite fit in. She behaves differently from the rest, sports rainbow in a sea of gray, and marches to the beat of her own drum.
She’s one Odd Dog.
Join Odd Dog as she journeys to the other side of the world to find her place in it, only for her to discover that maybe she’s meant to be right where she started.
For busy dogs a busy day
of busy work and busy play.
They all blend in. No dog stand out.
But wait. Look closer. Can you see
one dog behaving differently?
Author and illustrator Rob Biddulph made waves with his critically acclaimed and crowd-pleasing picture book debut, Blown Away. Readers might also recognize the London-based creator from his other picture book titles which include The Grizzly Bear Who Lost His GRRRRR! and the Dinosaur Juniors series. Biddulph’s latest, the rhyming picture book Odd Dog Out, is another winning read from the creator, one full of heart and effervescence.
In a sea of dogs that act, move, and dress in uniform fashions, Odd Dog is a “small dog [who] does not fit”. Wearing a brightly coloured pom pom hat, and rainbow scarf wrapped around her long dachshund body, Odd Dog does indeed stand out from the crowd. At a soccer game, Odd Dog is the one saying “Throw!”, while everyone says “Kick!”; at a concert packed with violin players, Odd Dog has her cool guitar. Feeling sad and alone from her lack of fitting in, Odd Dog consider a change of scenery: will she find her home, her place in “Fabulous Doggywood”? While Doggywood offers our protagonist a seemingly welcome surprise, a chance encounter with a self-assured, supportive and different-from-the-new-crowd dog leads to a meaningful moment: one that brings Odd Dog to a significant understanding and happy recognition about her stand-out, different self. Anchored by a finale of good reveals, as well as a nice curve back to the book’s opening, Odd Dog Out’s positive core message- and genuine optimism- is sure to spark with readers.
Supremely engaging and unmissable, with its vivid rainbow colour palette, adorable main character, and buoyant, concise rhyme, Odd Dog Out makes for a perfect storytime read aloud (but would do just as well captivating a small audience!). For readers familiar with Biddulph’s art and humour from previous picture books, the creator’s recognizable illustrative style and snappy-sweet rhyming will hold great appeal. Readers who are looking for a fun and totally charming story with a thoughtfully placed message centered around self-confidence and embracing difference- along the lines of K-Fai Steele’s A Normal Pig or Mo Willems’ Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed- might especially appreciate Rob Biddulph’s Odd Dog Out. Note: If you are able to, be sure to take a peak under the dust jacket for an wonderful treat of a picture book ‘undie’!
Bonus: On the HarperCollins website, you can find a link to a two-page printable activity for Odd Dog Out; you can also read the first few pages of the picture book. And below, via Rob Biddulph’s YouTube page, you can watch a teaser of Tom Hardy reading a bit of Odd Dog Out!
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Wunderkind PR and HarperCollins Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.