Recommended for ages 8-12
Toymaker Isaac Bodkins loved to make toys for children. He even gave them a little something special, so the toys were able to help children going through a rough time. He called them his Oddkins, and he loved them. Right before he died, he asked Amos the Bear to find a fellow good-hearted toymaker in The City, and let her know that she’d been selected to receive his gift and become the new toymaker. Amos, a sweet and brave bear, set out with a group of Oddkins to do just that – but just as Isaac Bodkins died, a group of darker toys woke up in the same house. They were the toys made by the previous toymaker, a dark, evil man who hated children and made toys that would hurt them. These toys have been awakened and tasked with stopping the Oddkins, while the dark presence finds another toymaker that will serve his purposes.
Thus begins the tale of Oddkins by horror novelist Dean Koontz. It’s a classic good vs. evil tale, albeit a bit heavy on Christian allegory. The good toys have to learn to work together to accomplish their task, and the bad toys are single-minded in their purpose – to destroy the good toys and help the new, evil toymaker ascend to power. It’s a pretty simply-told tale that should keep middle graders’ attention with some well-paced action and conflict.
The book was originally published in 1988, but brought back as a digital edition by Open Road Integrated Media. It’s available on Amazon.com.