Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon is a funny and engaging chapter book about a duck named Theodora and her best friend Chad. Theodora is a unique kind of duck that loves routine and structure. She loves doing her daily exercises including balancing a teacup on her head while swimming and engaging in other activities such as wingspan and quacking exercises. She travels everyday to town in order to purchase food for herself. This also includes buying her favorite food, which is mango salsa! She loves her life because she feels safe and content being alone. She especially loves gazing at the stars at night. One day, a neighbor moves in next door named Chad. Chad is a unique character himself because of his colored feathers and artistic talents. Being a gracious duck, Theodora bakes him a cake and greets him while he is sunbathing. Theodora is sure that they will never be friends because of their difference. To their surprise, the two ducks interact more and more. During winter, they bond and become inseparable after discovering their common interests such as mango salsa, reading books and gazing at the stars.
One day they get into an argument. When they are in town one day after the ducks return home for Spring, they are teased for being odd. Neither duck admits to being odd which leads to an altercation between the two. After an extended period of not talking, they realize how much that they missed each other and that they love each others unique and different qualities. They both said “I like you the way you are” which reunites them once again.
I loved Odd Duck because it celebrates being different and valuing friendship. Theodora and Chad were both unique in their own way but had many things in common with each other. Theodora did judge Chad upon meeting him but once she got to know him, she loved his personality and being with him. This was the same situation for Chad. I also appreciated that they were able to celebrate their differences and feel comfortable and confident in their own personalities. For children reading this book, I think it sets a wonderful example about feeling self confident and not judging others based on how they look.
Are you a teacher? Check out this excellent teacher lesson plan here.