'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 23 April 2021

Review: Weirdo

You wake up in a box surrounded by a bird, a cat and a dog. 

You know your Kit’s birthday present and you know you like Judo, but other than that you don’t really know much about yourself.

The animals think you’re weird and you try desperately to fit in, but when an unfortunate accident blows you out the window and into Emily Brookstein’s house, you learn a little something about being a weirdo — something that makes you think it isn’t all that bad.

Weirdo is a funny, affirming, warm story about embracing your differences and not letting bullies make you feel like you need to follow the crowd to fit in. It’s about self-discovery and identity, wrapped in a fun and quirky story that is deeply layered in the most glorious details.

The characters in this book are so wonderful. In very few pages their personalities shine and histories are revealed. Words and stunning illustrations combine to create a community in an apartment block that seems like it truly is just down the street and you could go and meet these people.

Our little protagonist is a true hero, and I love how relatable her journey is, first trying to fit in before realising she should be herself. It’s authentic and raw. We’ve all done it, and we’ll all do it no matter how many times we’re told not to bend to peer pressure. It’s a journey everyone must take for themselves — a journey every child must take.

Writing duo Zadie Smith and Nick laird have created an immersive story with Weirdo. It’s a book you’ll keep coming back to for its quirky language, rich characters, layered story world and beautiful message.

Magenta Fox is an illustrator talent to be reckoned with. Rich earthy colours fill the pages, and there are so many gorgeous picture layouts that zoom in from interesting angles or scatter images across stunning vignettes. Fox’s illustrations are filled with amazing details that bring the rich backgrounds of the characters to life. Weirdo is her first picture book, and I cannot wait to see what comes next.

I adore this book. It’s different. It’s quirky. It’s warm and inviting. It’s a book I find myself reaching for again and again because I want to get to know the characters more and live within their world for a while.

For a special story about embracing your inner weirdo, I highly recommend Weirdo.

Title: Weirdo
Author: Zadie Smith and Nick Laird
Illustrator: Magenta Fox
Publisher: Puffin, $27.99
Publication Date:  13 April 2021
Format: Hardcover
ISBN:  9780241449608
For ages:  3 - 6
Type:  Picture Book