This is a graphic novel for kids that will appeal to readers of all ages.
Theodora is an odd duck, somewhat obsessive-compulsive and most comfortable with routine and lack of change.
But then the very eccentric (in a different way) duck Chad moves in next door. Chad is colorful, noisy, wild, and messy, and Theodora can’t wait till he flies south for the winter. But to her dismay, he has a broken wing and doesn’t leave.
One night, while Theodora is outside admiring the stars, Chad sees her and invites her over to look at them through his telescope. Before they know it, they are talking about everything, and find out they felt the same way about most things in spite of their differences.
Then one day, walking back together through town, they overhear some ducks making fun of “that odd duck.” Each one tries to console the other, thinking it was the other that was the subject of derision. They get into a huge fight about who is actually the odd duck, and stop speaking.
Upon reflection, Theodora, who misses Chad’s friendship, thinks that maybe she could be a bit odd, and goes over to apologize to Chad. Each vows to be “more normal,” although both insist they like the other just the way they are:
“‘It’s not so bad to be odd,’ Theodora thought… not when you have an odd friend.”
The art by Sara Varon is adorable and adds a great deal to the text. Kids will love looking for all the clever and funny details, like the snow angel in the shape of a duck outside the window in winter.
Evaluation: Castellucci, the author of the Tin Star duology, is unrivaled in her embrace of the potential for friendship and love across the boundary lines imposed by convention, countries, races, or even planets. The message conveyed is excellent.
Published by FirstSecond Books, 2013