Odder Than Ever

( 5 )


Beloved for his hilarious and unexpectedly moving novels, Bruce Coville is also a master of the short story. In this follow-up to Oddly Enough, he again presents a collection of unusual breadth and emotional depth. A ghost who died under uproarious circumstances haunts a kitchen baking “Biscuits of Glory,” while in the grand tale “The Golden Sail,” there are unexpected consequences when a young teen goes in search of his seafaring father. The collection includes a heartbreaking new story from Mr. Elives’ Magic ...
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Beloved for his hilarious and unexpectedly moving novels, Bruce Coville is also a master of the short story. In this follow-up to Oddly Enough, he again presents a collection of unusual breadth and emotional depth. A ghost who died under uproarious circumstances haunts a kitchen baking “Biscuits of Glory,” while in the grand tale “The Golden Sail,” there are unexpected consequences when a young teen goes in search of his seafaring father. The collection includes a heartbreaking new story from Mr. Elives’ Magic Shop, “The Metamorphosis of Justin Jones,” and the bittersweet title story from the critically acclaimed anthology Am I Blue? A perfect introduction to Bruce Coville’s magic for the uninitiated, Odder Than Ever also has a treat for his die-hard fans: three never-before-published stories.

A collection of nine short stories featuring a ghost, a goblin, a giant, and other unusual creatures.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
In the 1880s, a band of Warm Springs Apache, led by Victorio, resisted the US Army in an attempt to live on their own land, in their own way. One of the individuals of this group, whose life was risked and forever changed by this struggle, was a strong, resolute teenage girl named Walks Alone. Having experienced the coming of age ceremony that marked her entrance into womanhood, Walks Alone is eager to marry young Little Hawk and begin her new life. Unfortunately, as the novel progresses, she meets many obstacles including attacks on her people, the murder of her mother, hunger, thirst, gunshot wounds, separation from her band and family and finally, capture. The simple, but effective language and fast-paced, exciting plot should make this well researched historical novel appeal to reluctant young adults and readers of both sexes. An epilogue giving some historical background and a bibliography are included. The author does a good job of presenting this piece of Southwest history from the Apache point of view.
Children's Literature - Lori M. Saporosa
True fans of Bruce Coville's writing style and unique subject matter will be delighted in his latest creation. This book is a collection of nine short stories with characters that range from ghosts to giants to fairy godfathers. As a sequel to his book Oddly Enough he continues with thought-provoking stories and messages. This book will be attractive to a wide audience of readers because he chooses main characters in each story that vary in gender, race, and age. In "The Metamorphosis of Justin Jones" the reader is drawn into a child's dysfunctional environment as he struggles to make a difficult choice. In a plot similar to the African folktale, "The People Who Could Fly," Justin proves much wiser and nobler than many adults. Overall, in this reader's opinion just about everyone will enjoy at least one of these charming short stories from Bruce Coville.
VOYA - Hillary Theyer
"Walks Alone" is a young Apache woman whose tribe is on the run from soldiers in 1879. When an attack leaves her and her little brother on their own, Walks Alone sets out to find the rest of her family in Mexico. She then encounters a pregnant woman from a different tribe, and in assisting her is captured and held by soldiers in an open pen until her brother dies. Walks Alone escapes and her quest finally leads her to Mexico, where she is reunited with the young warrior she loves. Her peace does not last long, however, as her tribe is again attacked in a fierce battle. The novel ends with Walks Alone as a captive, but still displaying the true bravery that guided her and her people through all their adversity.

This is a powerful novel with a heroine of enduring spirit, like Karana in Scott O'Dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins (Houghton Mifflin, 1960). Even the secondary characters-Walks Alone's brother, grandmother, and other family members-are fully drawn, and the reader feels their place in Walks Alone's life and in defining who she is. No punches are pulled in describing the violence and hardships suffered, but the characters maintain their integrity throughout, never falling into expected stereotypes.

VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8).

To quote KLIATT's July 1999 review of the hardcover edition: This follow-up to Oddly Enough contains nine fantasy tales, three never before published. "The Golden Sail" is a classic, moving fable about a teen who sails off on a magical ship in search of his father. "The Giant's Tooth" is about a young man who lives in a community housed inside a giant's mouth, while in "The Stinky Princess" the title character turns her back on her community to live with a smelly goblin. The other stories were published in various collections. They include the creepy tale "There's Nothing Under the Bed"; a variation on The Picture of Dorian Gray entitled "The Japanese Mirror"; and the clever "Am I Blue?" about coming to terms with homosexuality—what if everyone gay was outed by suddenly having blue skin? This will be a treat for fantasy fans. The stories are all imaginative and well told, often humorous but also affecting and thought provoking. A good choice for reluctant readers. Coville provides a note at the end giving some background on the writing of these stories. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 1999, Harcourt, 168p, 18cm, 98-51102, $6.00. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; November 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 6)
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8Harsh and sometimes brutal, Walks Alone follows its Apache heroine through a series of difficult situations. The book begins with a raid carried out by Apache scouting for the U.S. government, in which Walks Alone's mother is killed, and ends with the girl's capture, along with other members of Victorio's band, by the Mexican army in 1880. Along the way, she endures privation and injury with fortitude and skill, and without complaint, ably caring for her young brother and a teenage widow with an infant daughter. Apache customs, skills, and religion are seamlessly worked into the text, and the tale's point of view is solely Apache. While this provides an enlightening antidote to various "Anglo"-centric tales of the frontier, it also creates a novel in which there are no "good" Anglos or Mexicans, and no "bad" Apache, except for those in the employ of the "White Eyes." Burks's writing style, both lean and formal, may put off some readers, but it also gives a valuable sense of distance from the grimness of the events, thereby helping to prevent youngsters from feeling overwhelmed by Walks Alone's tragedy. The girl's determination is also a key leavening. An interesting and useful, as well as counterbalancing, book to set alongside G. Clifton Wisler's many novels of the frontier and John Loveday's Goodbye, Buffalo Sky (McElderry, 1997).Coop Renner, Coldwell Elementary-Intermediate School, El Paso, TX
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9This anthology pulls together six previously published and three new stories by this well-known fantasy and science-fiction writer. Most are richly satisfying, and there are a few surprises. The Golden Sail has none of Covilles trademark humor but is instead a wistful, timeless fantasy about a boys journey on a magic boat to find his father. In The Metamorphosis of Justin Jones, a mistreated and unwanted boy makes a difficult choice between eternal untroubled youth and a future filled with untold pain and promise. The rest of the tales range from shivery horror (Theres Nothing under the Bed) to tongue-in-cheek humor (The Giants Tooth) to a fractured fairy tale (The Stinky Princess). Am I Blue? envisions a hilarious solution to homophobia, a boy meets his inner demon in The Japanese Mirror, and interplanetary relations are explored from a kids-eye view in I, Earthling. The only less-than-successful story is Biscuits of Glory, which is just a little too fluffy. All in all, an immensely enjoyable and thought-provoking collection.Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From Burks (Soldier Boy, 1997, etc.), a brutally effective portrayal of the realities of the destruction of Native American culture. The Warm Springs Apaches, led by Chief Victorio, are refusing to go to the barren reservation set aside for them when they are attacked by "White Eye" soldiers. Walks Alone, a teenage girl, is wounded and separated from the remnants of her people, who are fleeing to Mexico. With her very young brother she is taken in by another band, which is rounded up and imprisoned by the White Eyes. When she attempts to get medicine to save her sick brother, she is beaten, and her brother dies. She finally catches up with her people, but they are attacked again, the men massacred, and the women and children enslaved. Based on the historical events leading up to the Battle of Tres Castillos, this is an unremitting tale of the misery inflicted on Native Americans. Burks, as in the past, pulls no punches, so there is no possibility of a happy ending as Walks Alone is marched off to enslavement; the hopelessness of the ending matches that of her people. Since the story is wholly told through Walks Alone's perspective, the actions of others against her and her people are not only vicious, but utterly bewildering to her as well. (map, bibliography) (Fiction. 11-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152024659
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/28/2000
  • Edition description: 1ST HARCOU
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,464,497
  • Age range: 12 years
  • Product dimensions: 4.44 (w) x 6.93 (h) x 0.45 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce Coville

BRUCE COVILLE is the author of over 100 books for children and young adults, including the international bestseller My Teacher is an Alien, the Unicorn Chronicles series, and the much-beloved Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher. His work has appeared in a dozen languages and won children's choice awards in a dozen states. Before becoming a full time writer Bruce was a teacher, a toymaker, a magazine editor, a gravedigger, and a cookware salesman. He is also the creator of Full Cast Audio, an audiobook company devoted to producing full cast, unabridged recordings of material for family listening and has produced over a hundred audiobooks, directing and/or acting in most of them. Bruce lives in Syracuse, New York, with his wife, illustrator and author Katherine Coville. Visit his website at www.brucecoville.com.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2010

    Disturbing, not for elementary/middle school aged audience as intended

    This book contains disturbing stories including themes of gay-bashing, suicide, torture. The overall book appears to be advertised for elementary-aged kids, but sadly the content is not appropriate. As an adult, I did not enjoy any portion of this book. My 10 -year old (mature, advanced reader) that unfortunately read it (cover to cover for a book report) enjoyed it even less. Given the wonderful literature available, I would have helped him choose another book had I previewed this for him. Please use educator and parental caution with this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2002

    Great Book!

    As a member of a powerhouse speech and debate team, I am constantly looking for good pieces of literature for the acting and performance events. This book has provided several beautiful pieces for Prose Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation. This is a great book even if you don't plan to perform it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2004

    Richliy Satisfying

    This book is outstanding! Once I had laid eyes on the cover, I got hooked on a train filled with fantasy coming my way! Nine wonderful stories woven togehter into one book! How great is that?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2000

    this book is a must!!

    I loved the book and my favorite was bicuits of glory.I believe Bruce's books come alive in youre mind.The books are good for kids and won't think they're scary.Well that's only my opinion i hope you read the book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 4 of 5 Customer Reviews

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