The Low Down: Nick might as well move into his school locker. He practically lives there, considering the number of times that Roy has stuffed him in it. Then the school counselor, Dr. Daniels, decides that there’s safety in numbers and makes Nick team up with the hugely tall Molly and the pudgy and guileless Karl. They all get bullied because they suffer from peer allergies, the counselor says.
Thinking his crush will like him if he can best the bully, Nick decides to try and take care of Roy with the help of his new friends. But has he gone too far in his pursuit of justice and become a bully himself?
Best Thang ‘Bout It: The story here is inventive and funny and will be devoured by kids from late elementary to middle school. The best character is the janitor, Mr. Dupree, who tells the Squad “true” stories to motivate them and quotes Shakespeare to make good points. Though the kids don’t always understand, Mr. Dupree knows that when they need to, they will. Bring the crazy.
I Wanna Say: Hopefully this will be a series, as I didn’t feel like we got to know Molly and Karl well at all. Well, we probably did with Karl; he’s pretty WYSIWYG. And yes, it is inevitable that this book will be compared to the wildly popular Wimpy Kid series because of the subject matter and the drawings. While there are similarities, The Odd Squad will do just fine on its own.
The Bottom Line: It’s a fun read for the middle grades. And if the drawings look familiar to you, Mr. Fry is one of the two people who work on the Over the Hedge comic.
The Odd Squad: Bully Bait by Michael Fry was published today by Disney-Hyperion Books. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher.
Genre: Middle Grades Fiction
Ages: 8 and up