A rare gem of a picture book that will be enjoyed as much by adults as children.
As the title suggests this is the story about the ‘Odd Dog Out’. All Odd Dog wants is to fit in and she, therefore, travels around the world to find a place where everyone is just like her. Everything seems perfect until she meets a dog who is behaving differently and realises that it might actually be a good thing to stand out from the crowd.
Although this is a simple story with a well-used theme, Rob Biddulph’s interpretation is – as usual – highly original. The rhyming text is easy to read and will appeal to children and adults alike. The text also contains lots of character and some wonderful dialogue.
It is, however, the pictures that really make this book so special. Open the pages, and you will find the vibrant colours and clever stylised drawings that we have come to associate with this talented artist. However, there is something particularly special about the double page spreads in this book which frequently have wallpaper style designs or patterns reminiscent of nursery motifs. Children will love spotting the difference and the odd one out: for me it brought back memories of my childhood and my love of the Richard Scarry books where we constantly examining the pictures to find the little worm character.
Children will love examining all the detail but there is plenty for adults too. I suspect it is only the adults who will recognise the clever use of stereotypes and the references such as swimmer, sailor, soldier, scout. I couldn’t help grinning when I found Odd Dog Out deep under the ocean in a yellow submarine. Even better still, are the names of the places that are included in the pictures – on the opening page the name on the train identifies this as ‘New Bark City’ while Odd Dog Out later arrives in ‘Doggywood’ (where we find some distinctive white letters displayed on top of the hill). Returning home, sharp-eyed readers will notice he flies with ‘K9 Air.’
There is only one negative about this book and that relates to the production. I’m really not a fan of flimsy paper dust covers for books for this age range. I was, however, pleased to see that – unlike Rob Biddulph’s last book – the hardback cover underneath does include the book’s title (although I would much prefer to see the attractive yellow cover of the paper jacket.)
If you enjoyed this, you should definitely check out Rob Biddulph’s other books. Why not start with his award-winning debut Blown Away. Alternatively, I adored his second book Grrrrr!.
Date: August 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Author: Rob Biddulph
Review first published on The Bookbag