Book: The Oodlethunks #1: Oona Finds an Egg
Author: Adele Griffin
Illustrator: Mike We
Age Range: 7-10
Oona Finds an Egg is the first book in the new Oodlethunks series of early chapter books, written by Adele Griffin and extensively illustrated by Mike Wu. The Oodlethunks are a cave family living in a time when the oldest in the community can remember seeing dinosaurs. One day, when young Oona gets lots, she finds a large, beautiful egg. She carries the egg home, and tries to care for it, though there's no telling what, if anything might hatch. In parallel she fights with her younger brother, feels jealous of her best friend's new pet, and attends school.
Oona Finds and Egg is kind of a funny mix of pre-historic and contemporary. Burping is considered normal, even encouraged behavior, and meals are followed by the picking of teeth. Art is produced only on cave walls. But Oona and her brother wear shoes, and have household rules written (in words) on their cave wall. Her mother goes out to work, while her father stays home and cooks ahead-of-his-time cuisine. The shoes really bugged me for some reason. But I doubt that the average seven year old reader will be bothered by this anachronism.
Oona Finds an Egg is kid-friendly fun for the early elementary school set, with a bullying neighbor, embarrassing school lunches, and the universal desire for a pet. These are set against entertaining details like the fact that each kid has a named club. Wu's sepia-toned illustrations render Oona as a cute, big-eyed kid, at her best when seen showing affection for Egg. There are occasional sequences of panels, like little comic strips, mingled with full and partial page illustrations.
Oona is a relatable kid, despite her occasional prehistoric behavior. For example:
"Whenever I am feeling my feelings, I yell. Sometimes my feelings are worried. Sometimes my feelings are scared. Sometimes my feelings are just plain mad.
But I always need to let them out." (This is accompanied by a picture of Oona screaming "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!")
"I tried not to care, but my mind made a sad picture of Bonk's hot, embarrassed face. I shouldn't have teased him about his Luvie in front of Erma.
Even if my head felt dinged from where bristle cones had smacked me. It couldn't hurt worse than my mean words.
And I was still the big sister." (Chapter 5)
All in all, I think that the Oodlethunks are a fun addition to the ranks of early chapter book series. The second Oodlethunks book will be published in September.
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher
© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).