Synopses & Reviews
What do an onion-headed boy, a child-sized hedgehog, and a tattooed girl have in common? They are all orphans at Oddfellow's Orphanage! This unusual early chapter book began life as a series of full-color portraits with character descriptions. Author/illustrator Emily Martin has fleshed out the world of Oddfellow's with an episodic story that follows a new orphan, Delia, as she discovers the delights of her new home. From classes in Cryptozoology and Fairy Tale Studies to trips to the circus, from Annual Hair Cutting Day to a sea monster-sighting field trip, things at Oddfellows are anything but ordinary . . . except when it comes to friendships. And in that, Oddfellows is like any other school where children discover what they mean to each other while learning how big the world really is.
In Oddfellow's Orphanage, Emily Martin brings a very strange place to life with her unique style of both art and writing.
"Martin's poignant and gently humorous debut novel is set in an unusual orphanage. The story grew out of portraits of the characters Martin drew, which appear throughout, accompanied by pithy explanations of how each resident came to live at the orphanage. The headmaster is Oddfellow Bluebeard ('a distant relation of the more famous Bluebeard'), who is 'as gentle and kind as the other Bluebeard was cruel.' The story centers on newcomer Delia, a silent albino girl whose fellow orphans include a kind girl with pet finches; a spunky tattooed girl; a ravenous hedgehog; and Ollie, an upbeat boy with an onion for a head. Their adventures (pictured in the book's abundant spot art) balance fantasy and reality: they discover a lake monster, enjoy a sumptuous picnic, view a mermaid fossil, watch the orphanage's resident bear family perform at a circus, and enjoy a traditional Christmas. The novel's cheerful tenor is occasionally tempered by the orphans' memories of their former families, yet the new, loving bonds they've formed shine through. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 7 to 10. Agent: Sanford J. Greenburger Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Emily Winfield Martin sketches, paints, and stitches to create imaginary worlds and characters. She is the author/illustrator of The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer.
Her store, The Black Apple, has been featured in national publications and on TV shows, including the New York Times
and The Martha Stewart Show.
Oddfellow's Orphanage is both Emily's first book for children and her first novel! The inspiration came from the real I.O.O.F. (Independent Order of Oddfellows), dancing bears, ragtime music, and magic and mysterium of all sorts. Originally, Emily painted portraits of the children and adults at the imaginary orphanage, and from the portraits the stories emerged—enough to fill a book!
Emily lives among the giant fir trees of Portland, Oregon, with her fellow adventurer, Josiah, and their cat Miette. Visit her on line at the blackapple.typepad.com or etsy.com/shop/theblackapple.