Author: Kathleen O’Dell
Illustrator: Rosie Winstead
Publisher: Puffin Books (Penguin Books)
Audience: Ages 7-10
Summary: Ophie and her family have just moved from California to Oregon because of her father’s job. Last year, in the fourth grade, Ophie had starring roles in her school plays, plenty of attention as the only child in her family, and a really good best friend. She saw herself as Dorothy on the yellow brick road to adventure. Now she has to contend with dreary, rainy weather, a new baby sister, and being shut out by the popular girls while the class oddball follows her around. To make matters worse, she finds that she has outgrown her beloved ruby slippers. Her fifth grade year is a tough journey to self-discovery and self-acceptance.
Literary Elements at work in the story: Characterization—Ophie is an engaging, bright character. She draws the reader into her world and her feelings and reactions. Theme—Ophie is growing up and is learning about herself and her place in the world. Perspective on gender/race/culture/economic/ability: The main characters are girls who are lively and engaging.
Scripture: Psalm 139, Jeremiah 29:11, Proverbs 3:21-23, I Peter 2:9,
Theology: Friendship, Accepting differences, Recognizing worth of self and others
Faith Talk Questions:
- Ophie misses Lizzy, her best friend in California. Who is your best friend? What would you miss most about that person if one of you moved away?
- Ophie wants Brittany to be more like Lizzy. But Brittany is not Lizzy. What are some characteristics that make Brittany special in her own way?
- Ophie notices that all the girls copy what Merry wears and does. Why do they want to be just like Merry? Who do you try to copy? Why? God made each of us unique and special. Why, then, do we want to be like someone else?
- Miss Fast, the teacher, says that Ophie is good enough being Ophie just as she is. What kind of person does she see in Ophie? Is being “good enough” acceptable? In your life, whose opinions about you matter to you? Why do these opinions matter?
- Share your response to “I’m the Kind of Person Who …” (See Chapter 9)
- Why did Ophie feel lost when she found out her ruby slippers no longer fit? What is meant when we say that a person “feels lost?” When have you felt lost? (NOTE: Child may not feel comfortable answering this question aloud or may not have the vocabulary to express his/her answer. Offer the possibility of an alternate method of response—writing in a journal, drawing a picture, etc.) What helps us cope with feeling lost?
Review prepared by Union Presbyterian Seminary graduate Mary Anne Welch
Ophie Out of Oz by Storypath is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.