The Oddmire, Book One: The Changling by William Ritter
Publisher/ Year: Algonquin Young Reader - July 16, 2019
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Source: Review copy from the publisher
ABOUT THE BOOK
The first book in an action-packed fantasy adventure series featuring witches, shape-shifters, and other creatures of fairytale and folklore, including two brothers—one human and one a goblin changeling—on a life-changing quest into the Oddmire.
“Funny, exciting, and ultimately epic. Wow. I can’t wait for the next one.” —Adam Gidwitz, author of the New York Times bestseller A Tale Dark and Grimm
Magic is fading from the Wild Wood. To renew it, goblins must perform an ancient ritual involving the rarest of their kind—a newborn changeling. But when the fateful night arrives to trade a human baby for a goblin one, something goes terribly wrong. After laying the changeling in a human infant’s crib, the goblin Kull is briefly distracted from his task. By the time he turns back, the changeling has already perfectly mimicked the human child. Too perfectly: Kull cannot tell them apart. Not knowing which to bring back, he leaves both babies behind.
Tinn and Cole are raised as human twins, neither knowing what secrets may be buried deep inside one of them. Then when they are twelve years old, a mysterious message arrives, calling the brothers to be heroes and protectors of magic. The boys must leave behind their sleepy town of Endsborough and risk their lives in the Wild Wood, crossing the perilous Oddmire swamp and journeying through the Deep Dark to reach the goblin horde and discover who they truly are.
In The Oddmire 1: Changeling, the New York Times bestselling author of the Jackaby series brings to life a bold new adventure, the first in a series about monsters, magic, and mayhem.
The Oddmire, Book 1: The Changling is absolutely enchanting. The best part, for me, was the relationship between Tinn and Cole. The two brothers are in it together for the long haul. They both wish for the best case scenario, not for themselves, but for their brother. I just loved reading about these twins. They are clever and kind and mischievous. It's really the best combination.
Another bright point in the novel is Tinn and Cole's mother, Annie Burton. Annie might just be my favorite character in the whole book. You know how parents tend to be absent and/or non-existent in middle-grade fantasy novels? Well, that is not the case in this book, and it is so refreshing. William Ritter demonstrates that you can send kids on adventures and have a present, fiercely devoted, and protective parent, even in a fantasy book. Annie is such a spitfire.
The magic of the Oddmire is very fun. This book feels like a traditional fairy tale where, once you go into the wood, magic is everywhere. I really liked the characters we met in the Wild Wood. Some were funny. Some were mysterious. Some were frightening. Some were all three.
Also, the book is also illustrated by the author, and I the silhouette drawings at the beginning of each chapter make the book a little extra special.
I read this book aloud to my fourth-grader, and we had such a fun time reading it together. I highly recommend sharing this book with the younger readers in your life.
BUT YOU DON'T HAVE TO TAKE MY WORD FOR IT
Here's what an actually middle-grader (my fourth-grader) had to say about the book:
I think this book is kind of mysterious. I really liked the mystery in the book. I kept reading because I wanted know which brother was the goblin. I also liked the other characters, especially the ones the boys met in the Wild Woods. Those characters are both very mysterious and funny. I won't tell you much about them because I think you should meet them yourselves and be surprised. I couldn't wait to keep reading this book so that I could find out what happens next.
And there you have it, folks. It's always fun to find books that he enjoys. We're already looking forward to reading the next book in the series together.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
William Ritter is an Oregon author and educator. He is the proud father of the two bravest boys in the Wild Wood, and husband to the indomitable Queen of the Deep Dark. The Oddmire, Book 1: Changeling is his first book for middle-grade readers.