Cover Image: Odder


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Member Reviews

**Many thanks to Feiwel & Friends Book/Macmillan Publishing Group LLC and Netgalley for an Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of this book**


If anyone asked me what book series I read as a kid that shaped me into the loveable, scifi-loving nerd that I am, I would immediately say "Animorphs". Katherine "KA" Applegate was an auto-buy back then. That was 2 decades ago, and I am so, so ridiculously happy that Ms. Applegate has never lost her touch for enchanting animal tales that teach as well as entertain.

In Odder, her newest book, the title Odder is... Well, odd. A sea otter with a fascination with humans and a penchant for mischief, Odder is a joy when she dances, and her zest for life is unmatchable. However, after a life-altering event with a great white shark, this tiny tube of fur and cuteness must battle back from the encounter and must look at the world through new eyes.

What did I think? Let's see.

1. I love her use of free verse poetry! Ms. Applegate writes in wonderful "mouth feels", meaning it's not just the words she uses, but how those words feel in your mouth or mind when you "say them" (aloud or in your head). As Odder dances in the ocean, so do the words dance when you read them. They're lyrical, they're beautiful, and they're also incredibly hard to pull off, in order to make them feel effortless. I can tell Ms. Applegate put in a lot of time and effort to get the words exactly right.

2. I love how she describes Monterey, CA, and weaves a true story of the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the otter restoration programs into the narrative. I've been to that part of CA before, which added to the imagery used here, and it took me back to that place while I was reading this book. I've wanted to go back, and now I really, REALLY want to go back, especially to see the otters! She teaches you about a real place, and a real program… almost without you even knowing it!

3. l love Odder! So adorable, so adventurous, and "otterly" fearless! If she could somehow exist in the same world as Ivan, Bob and Ruby, she would fit right in. Ms. Applegate captures the spirit of the sea otter flawlessly. If they had a voice we could understand, I would believe that all sea otters would be a lot like Odder.

(OK, I am going to preface this: all my critiques/constructive criticism is as an ADULT, for AN ADULT.  I know this book is written for several age groups below me, for children, and must be treated as such. For the young readers age group, I have nothing constructive to say. It's awesome, and PERFECT for young readers. So, please remember, AS an adult, the points below are what I would have wanted if the book was written FOR an adult.)

1. I want more of Odder. The book was over too quickly for me (I read it in a little over an hour or so), especially since it was told entirely in verse. There were certain sections that I wished were expanded, so we could get an even more beautifully described view of the world Odder lives in, and her adventures in it. However, that didn't happen.

2. There is a time jump forward and back in this book. And, while I don't mind them, and they're great tools for a writer to use, I would have liked to know what happened during that time in between. I would have liked to see where Odder's journeys took her, and the lessons she learned… or, what stories of humans she had!

3. Odder is really great. But, The One and Only Ivan and The One and Only Bob are even better. It's not that I didn't like this story. I DID. I LOVED IT. But, I missed that group of misfits who want to save the (or their) world. One of Ms. Applegate's strengths when it comes to writing is how she writes a book with an ensemble cast in it. It doesn't matter if it's Jake, Cassie, Rachel, Marco, Tobias and Ax (Animorphs); Ivan, Bob and Ruby (The One and Only…); or David, Christopher, April,  Senna, and Jalil (Everworld)… How characters push and pull on each other, growing them, changing them, that gives Ms. Applegate's books memorable sparks that burn, not fizzle. Maybe it was by design, but for a very interactive, social, "wanting a family" sea otter… Odder felt very much like she was on a very sad journey of one. I missed someone's companionship. All the other characters in the book are great, but seem more like characters that Odder has incidental contact with, not her tried and true "ride or dies". Even Kairi, her best friend, did not make as much of an impression as I would have liked.

I loved Odder, and it was a wonderfully quick and easy read. Animal lovers will love it. Fantasy readers will love it. I loved it. Reading about cute little fur squirters in the ocean will put a smile on your face. It is a very entertaining read, and I would recommend it to anyone, young or old.
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Thank you to Netgalley for the review copy of Odder by Katherine Applegate. I LOVE this book so much! Odder follows a young, precocious otter that strangely wants to explore around humans since she was saved by them as an even younger pup. 

This book digs into the conservation efforts for the otters, and is told through beautifully lyrical verse. It is both heartbreaking and hopeful. I will be getting my own copy for my classroom as well as recommending it to my students - especially those that are interested in books like Hoot by Carl Hiaasen and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
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Odder by @kaaauthor releases just in time for Sea Otter Awareness week! Filled with facts and insights into sea otter life and the essential relationship humans have with the species to improve their survival. It’s written in verse which powerfully conveys the energy, suspense, calmness of her life and pulls at the heart to root for Odder and her species. Visit the link in bio to @montereybayaquarium ‘s livestreams and resources celebrating sea otters this week. Review copy from @netgalley @mackidsbooks #fiewelandfriends Coming soon to our library. #millerfaves posted
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Katherine Applegate always chooses the best words. She's a fantastic storyteller, and Odder is no different. It's a great story of finding one's way and will be a delightful addition to any classroom library.
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This is a delightful book!  I love the way Applegate is able to render animals' voices and interactions, and this book is no exception--it is a great look at these baby otters and their situation. There is so much depth, and you can tell that the author has done her research. 

One thing that made this book have extra meaning was knowing that it is based on a true story. It is a great tale for any middle grade reader.
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This beautiful book is uplifting and poignant for any age - I read it aloud to my 13- and 8-year-olds and we all enjoyed it in our own ways. Katherine Applegate writes beautiful fiction in verse and this story is no exception. Having been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium (or even seeing Finding Dory!), there are wonderful educational connections to the real-life issues and settings depicted here. My teenager found this heartwarming story adorable and a welcome cozy distraction from the world. She called it "the ultimate comfort book." I think it's perfect for tweens who are interested in marine biology, conservation, animals, and/or taking care of our earth and all its creatures.
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Another absolutely delightful read by Applegate. I was sucked into this story and read it in just over one day. Odder's story is so moving and I will definitely be adding it to my elementary collection.
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A beautiful and poetic read, Applegate does it again with a heartwarming tale of loss and finding your true purpose-in animal form. Thank you to NetGalley for this galley. It did not disappoint.
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This was a sweet story of Odder, a wild otter who finds herself in need of help from humans several times. The story is told in three parts beginning with Odder as a young adult full of adventure and curiosity. She finds herself having close calls with humans pretty frequently and after an extreme accident, she is taken to the aquarium for help. The second part is a flashback to her early pup days when her mom didn't return to her one day and she was taken into the aquarium area to learn how to be an otter. The book ends by going forward to the original timeline so readers can see what happens to her after the accident.

This book was intriguing, but since everything is told from Odder's perspective, there is a LOT of inferencing that must happen to understand what's going on. The novel being in verse may have contributed to some of this confusion as well. It's a great book to use to explain perspective. Odder doesn't know what scuba gear is or what an aquarium tank is, so she's constantly describing the human's seal-like slick skin to cover their furless body, or the clear hard sides of water that she accidentally swims into.

It's difficult to know what age group to present this to. The vocabulary and perspective challenged by 6th graders, but the content did not really engage their attention. It was good, but a somewhat strange fit of a book. We REALLY enjoyed the end Author's Note that told about the real otters the book was based on. I wish this book was more of that.
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This is a lyrical book with a strong main character. It has an interesting take on predators and how to survive in hard times.
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Another hit from Katherine Applegate that middle grade readers will adore. I am recommending this title to be considered for my state readers' award. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Mac Kids Books for the gifted book I read along with the library audio.

Odder is an otter that loves to play. She is adventurous and curious and loves doing whatever her heart desires. But when her penchant for play puts her life in danger, her life takes an interesting turn and she is going to have to reevaluate her identity and who she trusts. 

This book is inspired by the true story of a Monterey Bay Aquarium program that pairs orphaned otter pups with surrogate mothers, and it is adorable. 

I loved how charming and full of life all the otter characters are and how this book helps readers examine the effects we can have on our environment and all who live in it. Told in a lyrical style that is beautifully captured by a chorus of voices on audio, this book was a quick read and fun listening delight.
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I am always amazed at how much can be said using so few words. Katherine Applegate is truly a master at the verse novel, particularly those with animal protagonists. Odder was a roller coaster of emotions - sweet, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at the same time. I loved the tactic of presenting Odder’s history in pieces, with the separate timelines, as it helped fill in some of the gaps when we were already invested in Odder’s story. And, even though there were very few secondary characters, the richness of their development added to Odder’ story. I also appreciated how Applegate wove elements from real life into Odder’s narrative, and then took the time at the end to explain what was accurate to the real-life story, and with what details she took poetic license. Overall, I enjoyed this book immensely and highly recommend it for a quick yet satisfying read.
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Say the name of this book out loud.  Go ahead and say it.  I'll wait.  Now it makes sense, right?

I love this book.  I love that it is written in verse.  I love that it is written by Katherine Applegate.  I love that I can read it to my 8th-grade students and my 4-year-old grandkids - and they all enjoy it.

I'm in love with this book.
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I absolutely love novels written in verse and cannot wait to put this one on the shelf of our library. Katherine Applegate has a flawless way of pulling you into the worlds she creates. Odder, our furry protagonist, is complex in all the best ways. She's flawed, fun, stubborn, loveable, curious, brave, and so much more. This story will introduce young readers to the complexities of a good way. There are enough details about animal rescue, rehab, and reintroduction into the wild to make a point without being overly preachy. All in all, this was a great read!
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I absolutely LOVED this novel in verse. It was delightfully quirky, yet a powerful social commentary on conversation efforts, climate change and human intervention in preventing the extinction of animals. 

Odder was saved as a baby and released back into the ocean as part of the Monterey Aquarium's rescue efforts. She seems to be adjusting well. She makes friends. She hunts. She does otter things. Above all, she plays. When she ventures too far one day, she finds herself back in the aquarium and this time... with a name... which means she won't be leaving any time soon. 

I love all the minor otter behaviors and mannerisms that were woven into this novel. I had no idea of how complex and how amazing otters truly were. I also did not know about the aquarium's program to pair orphaned pups with surrogate mothers. 

I put this one in my middle school library right away.
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I adored this book from beginning to end.

Otters are my favorite animal and I adore Katherine Applewhite's writing.

I loved this book written in verse form and I had tears in my eyes at multiple times in the both. 

I loved it!
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This sweet animal story will surely touch the hearts of young readers and adults alike. The unique format of writing in verse makes this book different and perfect for a read aloud in a classroom. Based on a true story of orphaned otters at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, I thought Odder was a lovable main character and enjoyed her adventures. This book teaches age appropriate lessons about bravery and grief while telling a fun and exciting story. It's also a great science connection and learning opportunity for students about the work of real life animal rescues. I can see so many connections and extensions this book could open up. The illustrations were also lovely and perfect for young readers. Some parts might be scary for the littlest readers, so I'd recommend this for 3rd grade and above.
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I am a huge fan of Katherine Applegate and recommend her books to many elementary age students who come into the library.  I will definitely add this one to my recommendation list.
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A gem of a book! Told in verse, this gorgeous story follows Odder, a wild otter, who is taken in by an aquarium after being orphaned. Grab the tissues, because this book made me cry more than once. A stunningly lyrical work, a story of love, loss, and redemption. Fantastic book club read!
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