Odd Weird & Little by Patrick Jennings
Toulouse Hulot (pronounced ooh-LOW, a new student from Quebec, Canada enters Woodrow's classroom one fall afternoon and changes Woodrow's life immediately. Toulouse is really short, wears a suit and tie, has tiny, round wire-rimmed glasses, a hat and black leather gloves. He would catch your attention, right? Well that he does, especially the attention of Garret and Hubcap, the two bullies of Woodrow's class. Usually it's Woodrow they make fun of because Woodrow has some different hobbies, like making creations out of duck tape. Plus Woodrow is clumsy and is a bit of a bookworm. Most of the kids in his class make fun of him. For some reason, Woodrow is drawn to Toulouse right away. He knows that if he befriends Toulouse, the teasing will continue for him, but he doesn't feel right not becoming his friend because he finds him so unique and interesting. Instead, Woodrow begins to stand up to the Garret and Hubcap and defend Toulouse. Now something is definitely very odd about Toulouse. Even though he is short, he can get to great heights quickly. At recess he sits in a tree to read. In music class, he can sing like a bird and knows how to play the accordion. Then there is gym class, he can spike a volleyball and he is as tall as a kindergartener. Also, he likes to eat sandwiches that have tiny feet hanging out of them. Plus, he never takes off his hat or gloves. Thinking something is fishy (oh yeah, there are a bunch of weird episodes with fish in this book)? You would be right. Read the book to see if you can figure out what, I mean whooo, Toulouse is. (The title and the table of contents might give you a clue - look for the pattern). So I have become a fan of Patrick Jennings since I read Guinea Dog last year. I have read several of his other books and I am a fan of this new title. It is very well written about how kids who are considered "different" are often bullied by the popular kids who are considered "cool." Even though adults are around and try to stop it, bullying still happens. I guess I could connect to the book because I was bullied in fifth grade when I was the new kid at the school. It's not fun to live through and luckily when I went to junior high that all changed as I think it is changing for Woodrow. The way the book ended, I'm thinking that there may be a sequel in the works by Mr. Jennings. I truly hope so!