Odd Velvet – Mary E. Whitcomb

Odd Velvet

Written Mary E. Whitcomb

Illustrated by Tara Calahan-King


Velvet is odd. Instead of dolls that talk and cry, Velvet brings a milkweed pod for show and tell. She wins the class art contest using only an eight-pack of crayons. She likes to collect rocks and even her name is strange.

This means that no one chooses Velvet for a partner to play, no one walks home with her after school, no one wants to be different the way Velvet is different. But as the year unfolds, Velvet’s classmates discover that maybe Velvet is not so different after all.

Odd Velvet is a great story to discuss the concept of acceptance of others.


  • cinnamon tea
  • lace
  • handkerchief
  • potpourri
  • sparrow
  • impressive
  • collection
  • nickname
  • lavender
  • milkweed pod


Discussion Topics

Before Reading

  • Make a set of Odd Velvet glasses for each student to wear during the reading and discussion of the story. Use black pipe cleaner for each of the round ‘lenses’, the nose bridge, and the side arms. OPTION: buy glasses at Dollar Store
  • Do we ever make judgments about others by the way they look or what they are wearing? We are making judgments about what we see on the outside and not what is on the inside.
  • If possible, provide the children with pieces of velvet to hold while they listen to the story.

During Reading

  • Why does having a butter sandwich appear strange to some people? What would you say to someone who thought it was strange that you like butter sandwiches?
  • Why do you think no one picked Velvet as a partner or would walk home with her after school when they first met her? How did Velvet get her name?
  • Do any of you have an interesting story about your name?
  • What can you say about Velvet’s birthday party?
  • Have any of you created a really great game at your birthday party that was imaginative and fun?


Group Chart

On chart paper make two columns: We Are The Same & We Are Different. Brainstorm with the students ways that they are the same as each other and ways that they are different from each other.

Velvet’s Show and Tell

Have the students bring something to school that they think Velvet might bring to her classroom.


Fin’s Tales – Can You Help?

“Before I became the official mascot of the Vancouver Canucks, I belonged to a pod of Orca whales. I enjoyed swimming and playing with my brothers, my sisters, and my friends. One thing that I was really good at was playing hockey. When my friends saw that I loved hockey, they thought that was weird and would often make fun of me and tease me.”

  • How do I handle this situation?
  • What do I do when my friends tease me?
  • Is it okay to be different from my friends?



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