When Clod Makes a Friend, Pedersen Makes a Classic

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Clod Makes a Friend

At the tender age of 9, young Clod's future is already written for him. It's not just that he's overly large and clumsy, but in a world where everyone has some magic, it is determined that Clod has none. That's the decree of his teacher, the Learned Yugen, who thinks it best that Clod's mother prepare him for a life of menial labor. But the cruel headmaster is wrong: Clod does have magic, it's just magic that Yugen cannot sense, and when Yugen discovers that, things get even worse for Clod, as his label gets upgraded from "worthless" to "evil."

Bullied at school, Clod takes refuge with the clay his mother brings home daily after working. And in a fit of loneliness and longing, Clod makes a friend: literally. Ada is a small girl at first, made from clay but being so much more than that while she is alive. She lasts a while then turns to ash until Clod remakes her, each time a little better and a little bigger, and each time she lasts a little longer.

Each chapter of this all-ages fantasy novel marks a different year in Clod's life, from a child to a trouble teen to a reluctant hero, as Clod's magical ability become the key to saving his city from an external -- and internal -- darkness that would destroy it.

With CLOD MAKES A FRIEND, author David J. Pedersen (ANGST) weaves a tale that is more than  enchanting -- it's important. It's a story that fosters self esteem and self worth, reinforcing the magic that comes from believing in yourself and fostering your own talents no matter what others may think or say about them. Clod is an endearing character, and Ada will charm the socks right off of you. The pacing is fast, and the skipped years between chapters are expertly filled in without unnecessary expository narrative but by the actions of each present time. We don't have to be told how Clod and Ada evolve, we see it happen before our eyes.

Featuring a gorgeous cover by Alessandro Brunelli, CLOD MAKES A FRIEND is just the thing someone at Sony or DreamWorks ought to be looking out for when seeking new material to option for an animated feature.

Grade: 
5.0 / 5.0