Oddfellow's Orphanage
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Oddfellow's Orphanage

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  282 ratings  ·  94 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, a...more
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published January 24th 2012 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2012)
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Sarah Rosenberger
I'm a fan of Emily Martin's art, so when I heard she had written a children's book telling the story behind some of her characters, I was pretty excited.

I read an arc of the book, so it only had rough pencil sketches of the art instead of the B&W illustrations that will be in the final edition. Unfortunately, the story felt like a rough pencil sketch too.

Essentially, students at a suspiciously Hogwartsian orphanage have some mildly amusing adventures and then everyone is happy because alth...more
John
A strange and surreal set of linked but largely independent episodes set in an orphanage where the children include an onion headed boy, a hedgehog, a tattooed young girl and like unusual sorts. My feeling is that this is one of those books that adults will come into libraries years from now and say that they're looking for, because they read it when they were children and don't remember the title, but do recall the carriage that was pulled by bears, the albino girl who never spoke but wrote not...more
Romi
This is, really, an exquisite book. My sister had been a fan of the author's work (art, jewellery) for a long time, and when the book came out she chose to buy it; there it has since been, sitting on my niece's bookshelf- I could've read it months ago, but I just wasn't all that interested, and I am annoyed at myself for that.

The story features a diverse array of characters, the majority of whom are orphans living at Oddfellows Orphanage, a place of wonder that is packed of characters full to br...more
Constance
Oddfellow's Orphanage suffers from the author's reputation. Because Emily Martin has made a name for herself with her beautiful art pieces and illustrations, expectations were naturally high concerning the book. Unfortunately, it doesn't quite live up to them, and I readily admit that had I started the book without any prior knowledge of Martin's work, I might have judged it more favourably (though had I not known about Martin's prior work, I also would not have found the book so fame is, indeed...more
Emily Rogers
Audience: ages 8-11

A mute, white-haired girl named Delia arrives at Oddfellow’s Orphanage in the middle of the night where she encounters a cast of kindly, odd characters. Before long Delia begins to love her quirky professors as well as the gentle Headmaster Oddfellow Bluebeard. Among the resident orphans, Delia befriends a hungry hedgehog named Hugo, a girl named Imogen who is covered in blue tattoos, and Ollie, a nice boy with an onion head. Delia embraces life at Oddfellow’s where a fieldtri...more
Lisa
I so wanted to like this book because of the beautiful artwork of the author/illustrator. Alas, the story was quite lame-o. Under-developed characters made the storyline unbelievable. There is a chance that this author's writing will catch up with her art talent. That's what I'm hoping for.
Erin
"A family stitched together from the scraps of other families..."

Apparently Emily Winfield Martin is Etsy famous? I had no idea. I picked up the book because the art on the cover looked cute and I was sort of hoping for a younger version of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. This is...not it. Instead, the chapters are short stories about a perfect orphanage for odd children. It's almost saccharine. I liked the artwork scattered throughout the book, but besides that, there was nothing...more
Amy
Aug 03, 2014 Amy added it
I had a fever when I read this book...I obviously wasn't feeling well, so I needed something light and easy. It was blandly sweet, so it fit the bill at the time. Each chapter focuses on a different child who has come to live at Oddfellow's Orphanage -- we learn his or her backstory as well as personal characteristics. The book as a whole takes the reader through a year at the orphanage, so we see the children and their caretakers celebrating different seasons and holidays. My favorite was hair-...more
Mara
What to say about Oddfellow's Orphanage? It's awesome! If I had ever been an orphan, this is the orphanage that I would want to have gone to. Filled with strange characters, small nods to fairy tales and kid's classics, and gorgeously illustrated, this is a short little novel that should be added to anyone's collection of kid's stories. Each chapter begins with a short little description of one of the character's background stories, so as you progress through the book, you learn about everyone's...more
Elizabeth B
My copy of this book shows it aimed at 7-10 year olds which was the first thing to give me pause when I opened the ARC. The language is in no way appropriate of that age group. The vocabulary is just much much too difficult for the average 10 year old. The pace of the book (slow, plodding, pointless details) makes it even less of a good fit for this age group. The book is filled with short sentences which I think is perhaps where the reading level came from but short sentences with big words doe...more
Shanshad Whelan
This was a pretty quick read that's sort of like a really weird series of slice-of-life sketches about kids that are unusual and odd. Oddfellow's Orphanage takes in all types, from an onion-headed child to a little albino girl who never speaks.

Now, I've read about an orphanage that takes in the freakish and unusual among humanity and gives them shelter just last year . . . oh yes, the YA book Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. A similar idea, but a very different story and tone.

Oddfel...more
Ina
This is a sweet book about an extraordinary place and an extraordinary family "stitched together from the scraps of other families, living together in the enormous house make of brink that is called Oddfellow's Orphanage. This orphanage is run by a decedent of Bluebeard the pirate and the residents include a young "illustrated girl," an onion boy, and a family of dancing bears. Each chapter begins with a portrait and short history of one of the characters and covers one of the many adventures ha...more
Steph
I think the illustrations are so fun, and I love the whimsy that was intended. I think if you visit the author's Etsy store, TheBlackApple, you will have greater appreciation for the story. I felt like story was worded in such a lovely way, but I cannot imagine children appreciating the way adults will. However, it is nice to think that the children from the orphanage found a family for themselves within each other. Instead of being lonely, and instead of feeling like outcasts (think: mute albin...more
Sharon Tyler
Oddfellow's Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin is a fun children's book slated for release on January 24 2012. The book follows the adventures of one mute, albino girl (Delia) as she joins the family at Oddfellow's Orphanage. The other children at the orphanage, and even the teachers, are all a little odd. The orphanage is a place for all living creatures to find a home. Its residents include an onion headed boy, a girl covered in tattoos, and a family of dancing bears. The book is told in episo...more
Rebecca Reid
Delia has recently been orphaned and finds herself among a truly odd assortment of characters when she arrives at Oddfellow Bluebeard’s orphanage. Each child at Oddfellow’s Orphange has something that sets them apart from the others, from the boy with an onion head, to the girl with blue tattoos all over her body, to a young hedgehog. Each child also has some delightful quality that makes them perfectly likeable.

Oddfellow’s Orphanage, written and illustrated by celebrated Etsy artist Emily Wingf...more
A.E. Shaw

This book defines delight. The stories are simple, sweet and outlined with enough detail that the world of Oddfellow's Orphanage is full and rich but never overdone. They remind me of the very best stories from younger children's story annuals of the 1910s/20s (something I happen to have a fair few of!), the sorts of stories where mild morals were innocuously taught and there were scones and jam for tea every night, and there were little bits of magic tucked in between descriptions of the everyd...more
Audrey
I read a e-book ARC from the publisher through Netgalley. My review will be posted in December as requested by the publisher.

When I discovered through Netgalley that Emily Martin (Inside a Black Apple) was writing a children's book and that a digital ARC was available for review, I jumped on the chance. Oddfellow's Orphanage is based on Martin's collection of prints by the same name, and it follows the adventures of a group of whimsical orphans. Unfortunately, the execution of the story is a bit...more
Annie
Jan 23, 2014 Annie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2014
I was really disappointed with this book. I became interested after falling in love with some of the author's paintings in her Etsy store. And while the illustrations are charming, there is not much else to this little book about a variety of orphans and the orphanage where they live. Martin seems to be aiming for quirky and sweet but her writing is just plain dull. Each chapter is disconnected from the next and they never come together. It seems like Martin has a creative mind and ideas but it...more
Kristin
3.5 stars

Cute children's book by Emily Martin, of the Black Apple (one of my favorite Etsy shops). The illustrations are beautiful- I've read some qualms about them being in black and white, but I think they're lovely. The characters themselves are interesting and quirky.

I just came away a bit disappointed. I felt like it wasn't as magical as I had expected and hoped for. The writing was very simple and clunky at times, but I'm hopeful that it will improve before the next book comes. :) It almos...more
Lisa
Horrible cover art (meaning children might not pick up on their own) but a sweet and endearing story. The quirkiness of the characters makes this story fun, and the short blurps before each chapter is a nice touch. The readers are able to get to know a little background for each of the characters before the story proceeds. Each chapter in the story is a snapshot of an episode where Delia discovers something new about one or more of her fellow orphans.

I read an ARC that did not have the complete...more
Alison
This book is more like a series of stories spanning a year at Oddfellow's Orphanage. Delia is probably as main a character as you're going to get, as she is the newest arrival at the orphanage.

I didn't really like this book. To me, there wasn't much point to the stories. They were cute, but very simple and not tied together that well. At the start, I expected it to be a kids version of Miss Pergrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but it wasn't. There wasn't enough backstory to explain why the chi...more
Jossie Posie - Semiliterate Bibliophile
Aug 23, 2011 Jossie Posie - Semiliterate Bibliophile rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Parents, Teachers
I was eager to pick up the book having been a fan of Ms. Martin's illustrations. I was completely enchanted by the sweet story and all the wonderful adventures the orphan's undertake. I couldn't help thinking how much I would love to read this story aloud to my future children. The illustrations (even in their incomplete state) where as whimsical as one would expect from the creator of The Black Apple. I look forward to re-reading the completed book and soaking in the beautiful illustrations.

I...more
Nicole
I have been a fan of Emily Winfield Martin's and her Black Apple creations for quite some time. I love her whimsy creativity and imagination. This book is like a swirl of ice cream including all the best flavors to create a flavor that is the best tasting. The flavors of dancing bears, fairy tales, the sound of music, and Christmas. It is a book full of characters that may be new or may be familiar. They are orphans which is a big enough of a drama. This leaves room for light-hearted problems in...more
svm
i came to this book via a roundabout way. the author is an illustrator whose work was admired by a knitting designer so much so that she named a piece after the author. i knit that piece about two years ago but just the other day, the illustrator's name came up and i saw that she had written this book. curiosity took over from there. it is an odd little story. very sweet, sometimes almost too much but it is in a magical world so i guess martin just wanted it to be quasi-utopian. bad stuff is ref...more
Erica - Bonner Springs Library
Reviewed for NetGalley ARC

I love Emily Martin's artwork and have several prints hanging in my crafting area. Emily's blog has always been entertaining when she describes the various characters she paints, so I looked forward to this book.

I was really disappointed that the artwork in this book is just black and white pencil drawings when so much of the beauty of her artwork is the colors. The story also fell flat for me. It felt like I was reading the history of each character but there seemed t...more
Erica
Reviewed for NetGalley ARC

I love Emily Martin's artwork and have several prints hanging in my crafting area. Emily's blog has always been entertaining when she describes the various characters she paints, so I looked forward to this book.

I was really disappointed that the artwork in this book is just black and white pencil drawings when so much of the beauty of her artwork is the colors. The story also fell flat for me. It felt like I was reading the history of each character but there seemed t...more
Mary
I don't even know how to explain this book. There's no plot, just little vignettes describing the events that the orphans of Oddfellow's Orphanage experience during a year. The orphanage is a happy place with odd (and not-so-odd) characters. Among the odd: a child-sized hedgehog, a boy with an onion as a head, and an albino mute girl. It's one big happy (and of course odd) family that enjoys "normal" things like summer picnics, circuses, and Christmas and unusual things like performances by danc...more
candace jean
While her illustrations are adorable, this first-time book for Emily felt too much like a quickly tossed-together rough draft of an IDEA for a story. It's like the publisher snapped her up thinking "Quick! Let's capitalize on her having a current fan base, and jump on this Emily Martin Bandwagon while it's hot! Publish publish publish!"

Too many "the"s, too many commas, not enough draw. I was bored three pages in.

A quick read best left for 8 to 9 year old girls. Which, I can't tell if that's pre...more
Lora
I wanted something 1,000% relaxing and sweet, and this was it. I got it for Christmas, though I'm way out of the actual age range!, and am very happy with it. I'm giving it 5 stars because that's most likely what I would give it if the proper age; at my actual age I'd adore more character description or something, as I kept mixing up the darlings. I love the description of the author: "Emily Winfield Martin is a story and picture maker....She likes to bake sweet things and hunt for old children'...more
Stephanie
Everyone ended up enjoying this very sweet book (with a twist). Part fairy tale, part oddball tale...you really hope that everyone lives happily ever after.

The story begins with a late night ride in the bear-drawn carriage and Oddfellow Bluebeard returning to his orphanage with a small albino girl called Delia. Delia is quickly introduced to the many interesting characters at the orphanage; including an onion-headed boy named Ollie, Imogen the tattooed girl, and Ava her soon-to-be best friend.

A...more
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Emily Winfield Martin makes paintings, books, and other things. She is the author and illustrator of Day Dreamers (forthcoming, 2014), Dream Animals (2013), Oddfellow's Orphanage (2012) and The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer (2010). When she was small, she spent every moment drawing, reading, dressing rabbits in fancy clothes, and having many peculiar daydreams. When she grew up, she began to ill...more
More about Emily Winfield Martin...
Dream Animals: A Bedtime Journey The Black Apple's Paper Doll Primer: Activities and Amusements for the Curious Paper Artist Day Dreamers: A Journey of Imagination

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