The Odds (Matt Stanton, ABC Books)
The lack of locally produced graphic novels for young Australians has been noted for some time now, but middle-grade and children’s author Matt Stanton has a new book to appease fans of the format. Following in the tradition of his much-loved ‘Funny Kid’ series, as well as his lively picture books, The Odds is light and silly, with plenty of heart. Perfect for independent readers aged seven and up, The Odds is the first in a trilogy and follows Kip, an introverted young girl who wishes to be invisible. When she wakes up one day to find her quiet life interrupted by a gang of strange creatures, she soon realises they are invaders from her own imagination. This hodgepodge group includes the scary dinosaur from her dreams, a dragon-hunting rabbit from her dad’s own graphic novels, and even the alien-shaped eraser from the end of her favourite pencil. What follows is a slapstick adventure, with Kip and her father teaming up to work out how to send the creatures back to their own worlds. The story is filled with Stanton’s trademark humour and irreverence, embedded with themes of friendship, family and identity. Ultimately The Odds finds a new, entertaining way to teach young readers an important life lesson: fitting in is overrated.
Karys McEwen is the library manager at Prahran and Richmond High School and the president of the CBCA VIC Branch.