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Fourth grader Odessa Green-Light lives with her mom and her toad of a little brother, Oliver. Her dad is getting remarried, which makes no sense according to Odessa. If the prefix "re" means "to do all over again," shouldn't he be remarrying Mom? Meanwhile, Odessa moves into the attic room of their new house. One day she gets mad and stomps across the attic floor. Then she feels as if she is falling and lands . . . on the attic floor. Turns out that Odessa has gone back in time a whole day! With...
Fourth grader Odessa Green-Light lives with her mom and her toad of a little brother, Oliver. Her dad is getting remarried, which makes no sense according to Odessa. If the prefix "re" means "to do all over again," shouldn't he be remarrying Mom? Meanwhile, Odessa moves into the attic room of their new house. One day she gets mad and stomps across the attic floor. Then she feels as if she is falling and lands . . . on the attic floor. Turns out that Odessa has gone back in time a whole day! With this new power she can fix all sorts of things—embarrassing moments, big mistakes, and even help Oliver be less of a toad. Her biggest goal: reunite Mom and Dad.
The New House
There comes a day in the life of every big sister when it's simply no longer suitable to share a bedroom with your toad of a little brother.
For Odessa Green-Light, that day was a Tuesday.
They'd only been living in the new house a few months. Odessa and Oliver shared a room, like they had in the old house, and like they did in Dad's apartment. This new house, of which Odessa was not particularly fond, had one redeeming feature that the old house she missed so much did not.
It had an attic.
From the first time the landlady gave them the tour--with someone else's scribbles on the kitchen wall, and someone else's stickers stuck to the dryer that had dried someone else's clothes, and the narrow wooden staircase scuffed from someone else's shoes--Odessa had her eye on that attic.
"You'll love it here," the old lady barked at Odessa, as if this were an order and not a wish.
Odessa doubted very much that she would love it there, but she did think that she might love living in the attic, a full flight of stairs removed from Oliver.
She asked, but of course her mother said no. If there was one thing Odessa could count on, it was Mom saying no to the things Odessa wanted most.
So a few months back, on move-in day, a day Mom tried to make cheery by blasting old-fashioned music and singing into a broom handle, Odessa unpacked her stuff into one half of a too-small bedroom while Oliver the Toad unpacked into the other.
And each day since, or at least every weeknight and every other weekend, which were the nights she spent at her mother's, Odessa had begged to move into that attic, but it hadn't worked.
Begging rarely did.
She'd also tried cajoling, bamboozling, and hoodwinking.
"Not a chance," Mom said.
Sometimes, however, victory is found in unlikely places.
Oliver discovered the field mouse that delivered this victory in the backyard. Oliver didn't seem to know how to get along with real live people: his terrible shyness got in the way. But there was no denying he had a way with rodents.
It was a Tuesday, which meant the next day was a Wednesday, word-study day, and Odessa had set her mind to moving into word group N, which required some studying.
The fourth-grade class was divided into word groups L, M, and N, and although Mr. Rausche chose letters from smack-dab in the middle of the alphabet, Odessa knew that as an M, she was only a second-level word-study student.
Smack-dab in the middle.
Odessa loved words. And she always tried her best to use the ones that other people too often ignored. But loving words and knowing how to spell them were two different things, and Odessa knew she would never make the move to group N without mastering the illogical rules of spelling, which was nearly impossible to do with Oliver crashing around her too-small room.
So she told him to get lost, not having any idea that this would lead him to their new backyard, where he'd find a field mouse sniffing around a chew toy that someone else's dog had left in the grass. Nor did she guess that Oliver would sing softly to this mouse until it wandered into his outstretched palm, at which point he would carry it into their bedroom and drop it down the back of Odessa's pink T-shirt with the turquoise stripes.
Odessa did what any reasonable person would do. She shrieked, ran to find her mother in the kitchen, and threatened to sue in a court of law if she couldn't move into the attic.
From her mother's lips sprang these three beautiful words:
"I. Give. Up."
And so Odessa found herself tucked in bed by 7:45 that Tuesday...
Posted June 30, 2013
Odessa Again by Dana Reinhardt
Wendy Lamb Books, 2013
Recommended for grades 3-6
Fans of A Year Without Autumn and 11 Birthdays will enjoy this time travel story. Here we have Odessa, parents recently divorced, father getting remarried and mother moving into a new house. These kinds of changes are the real deal issues so many of our students are dealing with, and they can be heavy on young shoulders. None of Odessa's family issues are taken lightly, but the book does not have an oppressive feel due to the fantasy element. Odessa finds a spot in her attic bedroom that she can jump through to go back in time 24 hours. When she does it a second time it is 23 hours earlier. Each time she jumps she loses an hour on how far back she can go. Once Odessa figures this out she has a lot of choices to make on how to use her opportunities. Odessa starts with fixing little things around her and her friends or school situations, often very little things. When Odessa realizes that she can do more with this discovery she begins focusing on not just herself, which is when Odessa begins to grow.
I wasn't enamored with the writing or the story, but I know that kids will find this idea very, very cool!
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