Oddkins ~ A Fable for All Ages

  • OddkinsAuthor: Dean Koontz
  • Performed by Luke Daniels
  • Published: Brilliance Audio, released on Audible August 2013
  • Category: Children’s Fantasy/Fairytale
  • five-stars

To the world, the Oddkins are just stuffed animals. But all of these soft, cuddly, sweet-faced toys share a wonderful, magical secret… they’re alive!
Created by Mr. Isaac Bodkins, the old toy maker, the Oddkins are made only for very special children, those who must face something difficult in life and need a true friend. The Oddkins are given to these children to inspire them, help them, and love them as long as the children need them. Only now the toys themselves – Amos, the brave stuffed bear; Skippy, the rabbit who dreams of being a superstar; Butterscotch, the gently, floppy-eared pup; as well as Burl the elephant; Gibbons; and Patch the cat – are the ones in need of help.

Mr Isaac Bodkins, the toymaker, was dead. His magical toy animals, who he nicknamed Oddkins because they were odd (as in alive) and kin (because they were his family) were sad and scared. Isaac had made the toys especially for children who are suffering in some way and need a special and secret friend.  A friend who will guide and support, and help them fulfil their potential. Isaac thought he had a little more time but died before he could talk to city toymaker Colleen Shannon about taking over his shop, Leben Toys. 

Amos would not permit himself one sob. He must be strong, for Uncle Isaac has chosen him to lead the others in this terrible time. Last week Isaac Bodkins had taken Amos into the book lined study at the front of the house, where they could have a private conversation.  The toymaker had sat behind his richly carved desk while Amos sat on top of it, basking in the red-yellow-blue-green light from a stained glass lamp. The old man had talked about Amos’s destiny and had revealed certain secrets….

Years ago Isaac’s shop was owned by Charon Toys who infused their toys with evil in order to make children miserably unhappy. Boxed up in the sub cellar of Isaac’s shop Rex and Lizzie, evil marionettes, Gear, the vicious robot, Stinger, the nasty bumblebee, Jack Weasel, the horrid jack-in-the-box and all the bad toys are slowly awakening from their enforced sleep. Isaac’s aura of goodness is gradually diminishing, giving evil the opportunity to take hold once more. 

Amos the bear, Butterscotch the dog, Skippy the rabbit, Burl the elephant, Patch the swashbuckling cat and wise, old Gibbons set out on an epic journey, through a dark and stormy night, to the city and Colleen Shannon’s shop. They have to get there before the Dark One’s followers can take over Isaac’s toy shop. 

The plot, good versus evil, is the classic basis of countless books and fairy tales but this interpretation is interestingly different, and obviously aimed at the younger end of the reading market. It demonstrates how difficult it can sometimes be for good to triumph but to never give up. There are moral codes, courage and loyalty running through the narrative, also including an anti bullying theme. 

This a fairly new audio edition although the original book was first published in the late 80’s. As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of Luke Daniels’ work. He’s outdone himself with this performance. The individual voices given to each of the toys works perfectly and, along with the description, brings an immediate picture to mind.  I love the way the toys have their own personalities and mannerisms and these are expressed brilliantly in the narration.

I would love to have a hard copy but it seems to be out of print. I purchased the Kindle version and discovered the book contains some wonderful illustrations to compliment the delightful narrative.  

Quotes from the animals..

“And if you’re always dreaming about being something you’re not, then you’ll never have time to appreciate the joy and wonder of what you are.” ~ Butterscotch the dog.

“Sometimes, you can hurt another person’s feelings without knowing it, just because you don’t take time to think.” ~ Patch the cat.

“No one ever has to be afraid of ending, because there aren’t any. No endings…just new beginnings.” ~ Amos the bear.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

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