Children’s Book Review: Odd Velvet

by Jennifer and Violet Ecklund-Johnson

Review of Odd Velvet by Mary E. Whitcomb and illustrated by Tara Calahan King

Odd Velvet is the story of a young girl named Velvet, who is a true individual. Velvet’s classmates think she is odd. Velvet brings in a milkweed pod for show and tell instead of a doll, like the other girls. She eats things like carrots and butter sandwiches for lunch. She wears hand-me-down clothes. The other children are polite to her, but they keep their distance until they begin to understand her. The more time they spend as classmates, the more the other kids realize that Velvet is interesting and fun to be around.

The story handles the subject of being different in a refreshing way. Although the other children can’t figure Velvet out at first, they don’t blatantly make fun of her or call her names. Velvet clearly doesn’t feel bad or embarrassed about being different. Her character isn’t portrayed as feeling self-conscious in situations when the other children giggle at the things she does. Velvet is happy with who she is, wearing a smile on her face throughout the book.

Violet thinks the illustrations in the book are very cool. The funky art in this book draws the reader in with vivid colors and comical, endearing illustrations of the characters. “I like how the children all have different shaped heads,” said Violet. Her favorite thing about the book is that “At the end, Velvet isn’t odd.”

Violet’s baby sister Hazel loves Velvet’s huge, funny-shaped glasses. She points to Velvet on each page and exclaims with a big smile, “Gasses!”