Simultaneously reflecting upon this fact and strategizing how he might get out, Nick is unwilling to consider revealing the name of the bully who repeatedly torments him. Dr. Daniels, the school counselor, teams him with Molly, an exceptionally TALL middle-school girl and Karl, whom Nick terms a “loser” in every sense of the word. Convinced that these three students need a place to belong in order to combat the bullies that seem to plague all of them Dr. Daniels compels all three to be members of the Safety Patrol, supervised by Mr. Dupree, the janitor. (Nick defines Mr. Dupree as “way weirder” than most weird grown-ups.)
Mr. Dupree continuously offers nuggets of wisdom to the students in the guise of outlandish stories which may appear foolish on the surface. Nick usually discovers a much deeper meaning in Dupree’s random stories and advice as events progress.
Nick’s grandmother, Memaw, lives with him and his mother. She also provides brilliant but cryptic advice about both his struggles with bullies and his search for a friend.
Odd Squad, Bully Bait is funny and sometimes profound without hitting the reader over the head with the latter. Nick forms new opinions and insights into both bullying and what it takes to make a new friend as well as grow and maintain that friendship. Without being preachy Odd Squad draws a vivid picture of the courage it takes to see each other with empathy and to be simply ourselves, regardless of what others’ opinions are.
With short chapters, some hilarious scenes and easy language accessible to middle and upper elementary as well as middle-school age readers. It is a great read-aloud choice for any of these age groups with its wealth of laughter and jumping off places for important discussions. By virtue of these same things it might also be a dynamite independent choice for a reluctant reader.