Bully Bait (The Odd Squad Series)

( 4 )

Overview

Nick is the shortest seventh-grader in the history of the world (he's pretty sure), doesn't fit in with any groups or clubs (who needs 'em?), and spends more time inside than outside his locker (they're roomier than you'd think).

Things only get worse when a well-intentioned guidance counselor forces Nick to join the school's lamest club-along with fellow misfits Molly and Karl-in her quest to cure all three of their "peer allergies." What starts off as a reluctant band of ...

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Overview

Nick is the shortest seventh-grader in the history of the world (he's pretty sure), doesn't fit in with any groups or clubs (who needs 'em?), and spends more time inside than outside his locker (they're roomier than you'd think).

Things only get worse when a well-intentioned guidance counselor forces Nick to join the school's lamest club-along with fellow misfits Molly and Karl-in her quest to cure all three of their "peer allergies." What starts off as a reluctant band of hopeless oddballs morphs into an effective and empowered team ready to face whatever middle school throws at them, including bullies, awkward romance, zany adults, and a brave new world of surprising friendships.

Renowned cartoonist Michael Fry brings an unforgettable cast of characters to life in an illustrated novel brimming with honesty, humor, and heart.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fry, co-creator of the comic strip Over the Hedge, makes his children’s book debut with an illustrated novel, first in the Odd Squad series, starring 12-year-old social outcast Nick. As the story opens, school counselor Dr. Daniels has decided that Nick and two other friendless kids, Karl and Molly, need to team up to avoid being singled out by bullies. Nick and Molly resist initially (Dr. Daniels wants them to join the ultra-dorky safety patrol, whose sole member is clingy Karl), but the three soon develop a plan to get back at school bully Roy, who has been tormenting them. Intermingled throughout is speculation about the ghost of Emily Dickinson, who supposedly haunts the middle school. Fry’s antic illustrations are a mix of charts, slapstick gags, and comics sequences, which provide welcome breaks from Nick’s long-winded narration. The circuitous story line and the book’s many over-the-top characters and pratfalls can get in the way of the points Fry tries to make about friendship, bullying, and outward appearances. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (Feb.)
Children's Literature - Jean Boreen
Nick, the smallest kid in his middle school, is routinely bullied by Roy. When the school guidance counselor decides that the problem is that Nick is too much of a loner, she assigns him to be part of a safety patrol "club" with Karl and Molly, two other middle school outcasts. With the aid of their somewhat bizarre custodian Mr. Dupree, the three students start to figure out what the safety patrol should be about. Their plans are complicated by Roy's continued bullying, Nick's use of his grandmother's cellphone to goad Roy anonymously, and Karl's general cluelessness. Humor abounds throughout the book, and the resolution is both a helpful consideration of how to respond to bullying and a spark for decision-making about one's identity. The pen-and-pencil illustrations throughout the text are fun and will certainly support the misadventures of "Nick and the Safety Patrol." This is the first book of a planned series, and I suspect that readers will find this an easy one to jump into and enjoy. Reviewer: Jean Boreen, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—Seventh-grader Nick spends more time inside his locker than out. Roy, the school bully, constantly tracks him down and throws him in there. When Nick ends up in the guidance counselor's office for the umpteenth time, she assigns him to a group of other misfits called the Safety Patrol. She is convinced that if they form a bond and overcome their "peer allergies" together, they will no longer be targets for bullying. The three kids do have something in common-Roy. As much as they get on one another's nerves, they decide to band together to take him on. Though the plot gets downright silly and a bit confusing at times, the theme of friendship and, eventually, empathy for one another and for the bully, does shine through. The small cartoon illustrations on almost every page are the highlight of the book. They are clever and help clarify some of the story. Especially funny are the depictions of Nick's yoga-practicing grandmother, Meemaw, who always has the perfect wisecrack to sum up a situation. The first of a series, this title will be enjoyed by fans of Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" books (Abrams).—Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL
Kirkus Reviews
In an illustrated novel, the first in a proposed series, cartoonist Fry (Over the Hedge) humorously mines the world of middle school as seen through the eyes of bullied Nick to answer the question: Can three oddballs team together to take down the school bully? Nick, surely the shortest 12-year-old ever, spends his school days being stuffed in lockers by Roy. To counter their social isolation, Nick's guidance counselor forces Nick and too-tall Molly to join nerdy Karl in the lamest club ever: Safety Patrol. Mr. Dupree, a Shakespeare-quoting hippie janitor who is able to arm fart "Greensleeves," advises them to take control with a series of hilarious attempts to get back at Roy--until the kids develop some empathy for Roy and realize they are bullying him. Mr. Dupree's wacky antics as he advises the kids to "bring the crazy" are frankly bizarre. Much that the Odd Squad does to get to Roy (stealing, breaking into school records) is not admirable. But this gives the characters dimension: The bully is not all bad; the bullied are not all good. Abundant cartoon-style illustrations enhance the book's silly yet sensitive portrayal of bullying and unlikely friendships. An important message, humorously delivered, that will appeal to Diary of a Wimpy Kid fans. (Fiction. 8-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423169246
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 2/12/2013
  • Series: Odd Squad Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 163,101
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Fry is the co-creator and writer of several comic strips, including Over the Hedge, which is featured in newspapers nationwide and was adapted into the hit animated movie of the same name. In addition to his work as a cartoonist, Michael is the founder of RingTales, a company that animates print comics for all digital media, and is an active blogger, tweeter, and public speaker, as well as the proud father to two adult daughters.

Originally from Minneapolis, Michael currently lives with his wife in Austin, Texas, where he is hard at work on the next Odd Squad adventure.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Rating: 3.5 The Low Down: Nick might as well move into his s

    Rating: 3.5




    The Low Down: Nick might as well move into his school locker. He practically lives there, considering the number of times that Roy has stuffed him in it. Then the school counselor, Dr. Daniels, decides that there’s safety in numbers and makes Nick team up with the hugely tall Molly and the pudgy and guileless Karl. They all get bullied because they suffer from peer allergies, the counselor says.




    Thinking his crush will like him if he can best the bully, Nick decides to try and take care of Roy with the help of his new friends. But has he gone too far in his pursuit of justice and become a bully himself?




    Best Thang ‘Bout It: The story here is inventive and funny and will be devoured by kids from late elementary to middle school. The best character is the janitor, Mr. Dupree, who tells the Squad “true” stories to motivate them and quotes Shakespeare to make good points. Though the kids don’t always understand, Mr. Dupree knows that when they need to, they will. Bring the crazy.




    I Wanna Say: Hopefully this will be a series, as I didn't feel like we got to know Molly and Karl well at all. Well, we probably did with Karl; he's pretty WYSIWYG. And yes, it is inevitable that this book will be compared to the wildly popular Wimpy Kid series because of the subject matter and the drawings. While there are similarities, The Odd Squad will do just fine on its own.




    The Bottom Line: It’s a fun read for the middle grades. And if the drawings look familiar to you, Mr. Fry is one of the two people who work on the Over the Hedge comic.




    The Odd Squad: Bully Bait by Michael Fry was published today by Disney-Hyperion Books. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher.




    Genre: Middle Grades Fiction
    Ages: 8 and up

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    AWESOMAZING! (see page 151)



    AWESOMAZING! (see page 151)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    I give it 4.5 or 5 stars. But then I like Fry. If you and your k

    I give it 4.5 or 5 stars. But then I like Fry. If you and your kids like Over The Hedge (movie or comics), or if you know him from the old TV series, Committed, you'll like The Odd Squad, which branches out into some new territory for Fry. Aimed at tweens. Good for all ages. 

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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