In the past, comments from teachers on Oggie Cooder’s report cards have included words such as “unique,” “quirky,” “one-of-a-kind,” and “marching to his own drummer.” His peers have been satisfied calling him “weirdo,” “dork,” “doofus,” “dweeb,” and “loozer.” One description for Oggie readers of Sarah Weeks delightful middle-grade novel won’t be able to deny is leader. But it isn’t until partway through Oggie’s fourth-grade year that anyone would dare follow this natural-born leader. What turns things around? He doesn’t begin to care about the clothes he wears or the games he dreams up. He’s not suddenly interested in being friends with only the most popular kids in school or what all the people in Hollywood are doing. It is Oggie’s unusual talent for charving cheese that unknowingly puts him on the path to fame and fortune. Suddenly he’s the star of Truman Elementary School, his home town of Wauwatosa, and beyond--just being himself.
Oggie’s zany lust for life, along with an interesting story with true boy appeal, will strike a goofy chord with readers in grades 3-6 who have encountered changes and new experiences, as well as worries about friends and friendship. After spending some time with Oggie, we all can look to the beat of our own drummer for inspiration.