The Odds by Matt Stanton

I used to be a huge fan of Aaron Blabey’s The Bad Guys. The first 5 or 6 books were perfection but have since gotten a bit weird and the series has gone on a bit long. It is one of those series though that has hooked kids who didn’t think they were readers. For some kids it has been the first books that they have read by themselves and they have got hooked on reading. I’m always on the lookout for something else to recommend to those kids who have loved The Bad Guys. Something that is similar in the look and feel of it and with bits that make you laugh-out-loud. Matt Stanton’s new book (and the start of a series – YAY!), The Odds, is the perfect read-alike and I can’t wait to shout about this book to kids.

The Odds introduces us to Kip, an ordinary girl who lives in the city with her dad. One morning she wakes up to something extraordinary – a bunch of fictional characters standing at the foot of her bed. Neither Kip nor the characters know why or how they got there but they seem to be stuck. There’s Lance (the bunny from the graphic novel her dad creates), the Greatest of All Time (or G.O.A.T. from Kip’s soccer books), Theo the Builder (from a picture book that Kip’s grandfather gave her) and others. The Odds explore Kip’s apartment, and Kip and her Dad try to keep them contained but they escape into the outside world. Kip and the Odds try everything they can to try and get them back to their worlds. Will their crazy ideas work or will they be stuck in the real world forever?

The Odds is awesome! It is absolutely hilarious but it also has a lot of heart. It’s about the fictional characters discovering who they are and where they come from, but also about Kip finding out about herself and accepting who she is. I love the different characters and how they are from different kinds of media. There is Theo from a picture book, Booster the rooster from a farming game app, and Racer, an avatar from a racing game. Matt made me wish that I had my own group of fictional characters who could follow me around. I’m just not sure who I would choose.

The book is similar in format to The Bad Guys with Matt’s simple but emotive black and whitecomic illustrations throughout. You may be familiar with Matt’s distinctive style from his picture books with Beck Stanton (This is a Ball, The Red Book). A lot of the laughs in the story come from visual gags, making the book great for kids who struggle with reading. I love visual gags in comics so The Odds is right up my alley.

Matt has got me hooked on The Odds and I want more. I know kids are going to love this series too. It’s perfect for fans of The Bad Guys but would also be great for fans of Dog Man, John Patrick Green’s InvestiGators and James Foley’s S.Tinker Inc. series.

You can download a chapter sampler of The Odds here and you can also download an Odds activity pack with characters cards and a colouring sheet.

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