The story is set in a bustling city full of Daschunds, who all look the same and act the same, at work and at play. All except one, our protagonist and hero, who ‘dances to a different beat’. She likes to do things her own way, whether it’s her choice of transport (a bike instead of a car), sporting techniques (throwing rather than kicking the ball), choice of musical instrument (electric guitar rather than violin). Her distinctive woolly hat and long stripy scarf ensure she never blends in with the crowd. In the middle of the story, the reader is suddenly made aware that ‘not fitting in’ really does upset her, and she tearfully decides to leave the city. After much walking, she happens upon the city of Doggywood, where she is surprised to find she DOES fit in – every dog looks and acts just like her. All, that is, except one: another ‘Odd Dog Out’. She is keen to sympathise with this outsider, but he tells her she has got it all wrong. He LOVES to stand out from the crowd, and despite his differences, still feels like he belongs. The turning point in the story arrives – the other odd dog encourages her to be proud of her differences – and she realises that it’s absolutely fine to be herself. Off she goes towards home, and arrives to a hero’s welcome. They’ve missed their Odd Dog Out, and this has made them realise that ‘being different is really great’, in fact, some are inspired to behave and dress differently themselves.
This is a very appealing book which should engage and entertain young children. Rob Biddulph’s vibrant illustrations are a real delight, with lots of details to pore over. Children will enjoy finding the ‘odd dog’ in the pictures and ‘spotting her differences’.