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Oddest of All    by Bruce Coville order for
Oddest of All
by Bruce Coville
Order:  USA  Can
Harcourt, 2008 (2008)

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* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Bruce Coville's latest collection of short stories, Oddest of All, is a little darker than his previous Oddly Enough and Odder than Ever. This collection of nine stories runs the gamut from science fiction to comedy to mystery to fantasy to horror. Five of the nine stories have been previously published, although revised for this printing, and three are new to this collection.

All of the stories are very good, each in their own way. In Our Own Hands is definitely a think-piece that begs to be discussed. What's the Worst That Could Happen? is pure comedy that will delight middle-schoolers. For fans of Coville's The Ghost ... books, The Ghost Let Go adds a short, bittersweet episode to Nine and Chris's ghostly encounters. In the Frog King's Court is unique in that it deals with a were-frog.

The Thing in Auntie Alma's Pond, a dark, haunting tale, is perhaps my favorite of the bunch. The Hardest, Kindest Gift reads like a short epic fantasy. Coville's Magic Shop is visited again in the chilling The Mask of Eamonn Tiyado. Herbert Hutchison in the Underworld is a great morality tale, but definitely aimed at older teen readers. Finally, The Boy with Silver Eyes is a beautiful story that reads like a classic fairytale.

Fans young and old of Bruce Coville will delight in Oddest of All. Be advised, though, that some of the stories are geared more to older teens than to the middle-readers targeted in others of Coville's works.

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