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Children's Fiction Animals

Odd Duck

illustrated by Sara Varon

by (author) Cecil Castellucci

First Second
Initial publish date
May 2013
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    May 2013
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 6 to 10
  • Grade: 1 to 5


Theodora is a perfectly normal duck. She may swim with a teacup balanced on her head and stay north when the rest of the ducks fly south for the winter, but there's nothing so odd about that.
Chad, on the other hand, is one strange bird. Theodora quite likes him, but she can't overlook his odd habits. It's a good thing Chad has a normal friend like Theodora to set a good example for him.
But who exactly is the odd duck here? Theodora may not like the answer.
Sara Varon (Robot Dreams) teams up with Cecil Castellucci (Grandma's Gloves) for a gorgeous, funny, and heartwarming examination of the perils and pleasures of friendship.
AKirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013

About the authors

Sara Varon's profile page

Cecil Castellucci grew up in New York City and is the author of such young adult novels as Rose Sees Red, Boy Proof, and The Year of the Beast, as well as the comic books The Plain Janes, Janes in Love, and Shade: The Changing Girl. Currently, Cecil Castellucci lives in Los Angeles. You can learn more about her at

Cecil Castellucci's profile page


  • Unknown, Maryland Blue Crab YR Award Master List
  • Nominated, Eisner Award Nominee
  • Long-listed, Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year
  • Long-listed, Kirkus Reviews Best Books of the Year
  • Long-listed, Boing Boing Gift Guide

Editorial Reviews

"This is a beautiful parable about eccentricity, friendship, self-awareness, the majesty of the night sky, and the benefits of balancing a cup of tea on your head (for posture!)." —Boing Boing
“This clever celebration of individuality delights.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Warm and with solid insight into the nature of quirk, this title will amuse most readers, and it may be a welcome balm for those who feel a bit different.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Varon's gentle art and Castellucci's nuanced writing combine in a sweet, quiet tale that celebrates the joys of being unique.” —Booklist
“A lively friendship story that shows it's more fun to be different than "normal," and most fun of all to be different with a buddy.” —The Horn Book
“Middle-graders on the verge of dog-eat-dog adolescence may find the idea of oddball pals sticking together a bolstering and affirmative one; the quirky tale may also serve as a nice prompt for a class discussion of friendship or idiosyncratic behavior.” —BCCB

Other titles by Cecil Castellucci