Eric the Awkward Orc, by Alex Dyson, Art by Laura Wood
I love picture books that celebrate having the courage to be true to yourself, and this picture book written by Alex Dyson does so with humour and heart.
While all the other orcs enjoy sharpening their axes and participating in battles, Eric the quiet polite orc enjoys playing musical instruments. When the other orcs make fun of him, Eric sadly decides to give all his instruments away - all except his prized saxophone, which he keeps safely hidden.
When a dragon is discovered in the forest, the orcs leap into battle - but it quickly becomes clear they are no match for the terrifying dragon. Will Eric and his trusty saxophone find a way to save the day?
This is such a fun and heart-warming story which at its heart encourages inclusivity and embracing others for who they are. It also celebrates those who dare to be different, as well as the way in which music has the ability to draw people together in unexpected ways.
The playful rhyming stanzas are a pleasure to read aloud and the illustrations are so joyfully quirky, bursting with colour and movement. They successfully build upon and enhance the humour in the narrative, and are engaging for a young audience.
This book would make a fun Storytime read aloud and may initiate conversation about accepting others for who they are and being brave enough to be your true self - even when it feels hard to do so at times. Reading this book with young kids might also prompt discussion about musical instruments and could turn into a fun music-based Storytime! After all - music has the power to connect us with others and bring joy to our lives.
Just ask the fire-breathing dragon-turned-rapper in this book!
Published by little Hare (Hardie Grant Children's Publishing)