The Odd Squad: Bully Bait by Michael Fry is a children’s chapter book. Nick is short, he thinks he must be the shortest seventh grader in history. He does not really fit in with any of the groups at school, so spends most of his time bully dodging. An enthusiastic guidance counsel teams Nick up with two other outcasts, and the team is mentored by the eccentric janitor. The team of oddballs come together to a common goal, fighting a bully, and learn about themselves and the nature of bullies.
The Odd Squad: Bully Bait was a great read, and I think is accessible to both elementary and middle school students. It speaks to dealing with bullies, and how easy it can be to cross the line and act like a bully when feeling powerless. Some tough questions are dealt with, while still being funny. Nick is short but smart, stuck spending a good portion of his school day crammed in his locker. His family is a little different, and add to the quirkiness of the story. The other oddballs, Molly and Karl, have their own troubles and quirks. The bully, Roy, is as well developed as the three oddballs, as are the janitor and Nick’s grandmother. rumors of a school ghost, and mentions of other interesting kids at the school, left me wanting to read more about what happens in those halls.
I highly recommend The Odd Squad: Bully Bait to middle grade readers, particularly those that have ever felt like an oddball or on the receiving end of the bully effect. There is some cute, awkward romance in the story, and a collection of unforgettable characters that will keep readers turning the pages. Fry includes some illustrations, which only further enhance the heart, humor, and truth of the story. The sequel, the Odd Squad: Zero Tolerance is scheduled for release in September 2013. I gave this book 4 out of five stars on Goodreads.
This review was originally published on Sharon the Librarian.