A Book by Its Cover

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#283: “A Book by Its Cover”
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21: Wish You Were Here!
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Matthew 7:1-2

1"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

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A Book by Its Cover

“A Book by Its Cover” is episode #283 of the Adventures in Odyssey audio series. It was written by Paul McCusker, and originally aired on September 24, 1994.


Connie and Eugene try to see Jack's secret painting, and Katrina Shanks tutors a difficult student.


Katrina writes a letter to her folks, explaining some interesting events around town. The first involves her and a new student named Melissa. In a flashback, Katrina reveals that Melissa needs help with her studies. Melissa appears to be mature enough to handle Katrina’s assignments, but as they talk, Katrina realizes that Melissa is not an older teen but is actually in middle school. Not only that, but whenever Katrina tries to start the lesson, Melissa avoids the subject. She tries talking about Katrina and her family.

Later, Katrina gives Melissa a pop quiz, which Melissa flunks. Melissa turns on Katrina. She accuses Katrina of purposely making her fail. Finally, Melissa threatens Katrina with her job if she gives another pop quiz. Katrina takes control of the situation. She scolds Melissa and tells her to keep studying. Melissa eventually complies. She breaks down and cries like the little girl she is.

In her letter, Katrina also describes an incident that took place with Jack, Eugene, and Connie. Jack has begun painting and has just finished a work to be put on display at the local library. Connie is dying to see it. When Jack leaves for the day to run a few errands, Connie coaxes Eugene up to the office for a quick peek. But the painting they see is awful! If Jack presents this, he’ll be humiliated. Connie and Eugene gently try to prevent Jack from displaying his painting. But they discover that what they thought was Jack’s painting is actually a scratch canvas. He was using it to clean off his brushes.

Katrina explains in her letter that Connie and Eugene were set straight, and next time, they will all (Katrina included) be careful not to judge a book by its cover.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why did Melissa keep distracting Katrina?
  2. Was Katrina right to get angry with Melissa?
    • What would you have done? Explain your answers.
  3. Should Connie and Eugene have tried to prevent Jack from displaying his painting?
    • Why or why not?


Heard in episode

Role Voice Actor
Connie Kendall Katie Leigh
Eugene Meltsner Will Ryan
Jack Allen Alan Young
Katrina Shanks Pamela Hayden
Melissa Michelle Stacy-Hanna

Mentioned in episode

Character Mentioned By
Fred Holstein Katrina Shanks
John Whittaker Katrina Shanks
Millie Shanks Katrina Shanks
Armitage Shanks Katrina Shanks
Tom Riley Eugene Meltsner


  • This episode was the last of "Whit adaptations." It was brought back to explore some of Jack's character more.


Eugene Meltsner: Perhaps gophers are like humans. They enjoy something challenging to sink their teeth into.
Katrina Shanks: Just so they don't bite off more than they can chew.

Connie Kendall: You're playing a word game, Eugene? I thought you hated puns?
Eugene Meltsner: In their proper place, puns can be a helpful mental exercise.

Eugene Meltsner: Miss Kendall, as I've so often observed in the past and your own experiences confirm it: curiosity in your hands is like a dangerous weapon in the hands of a maniac—out of control and likely to harm!
Connie Kendall: Oh, yeah?
Eugene Meltsner: To respond in kind, "yeah!"

Eugene Meltsner: I would humbly suggest to be careful not to jump to any conclusions.
Katrina Shanks: Oh, I’d never count my chickens before they hatched.
Eugene Meltsner: But you might kill two birds with one stone.
Katrina Shanks: Not when a bird in hand is worth two in a bush.
Eugene Meltsner: Unless bird of a feather flock together.
Katrina Shanks: Well, then, I’d be forced to fly the coop.
Eugene Meltsner: There was poultry humor in that remark.
Katrina Shanks: Oh, Eugene, that’s a foul thing to say!

Katrina Shanks: I wanna say first that you’d better never talk to me like that again.
Melissa: What?
Katrina Shanks: I don’t care who you are or how you dress or how old you look—that tantrum of yours was worse than a spoiled two-year-old!
Melissa: You can’t—
Katrina Shanks: Be quiet until I’m finished! Second—don’t you ever threaten me or any adult you come in contact with again, you understand? You think you can wreck my career? Well, imagine the quality of your life without a proper education!
Melissa: I—
Katrina Shanks: Now you’re gonna turn around, go back to that classroom, and give me a heartfelt apology. And we’re going to study until you can take that test confidently and never have to resort to childish outbursts to cover for bad grades again!
Melissa: ...Why should I?
Katrina Shanks: Because I’m telling you to! And my guess is that considering your obnoxious attitude, I’m probably the only tutor left in Odyssey who will help you get through school!

Connie Kendall: Well, we looked at your painting and we think it's just terrible!
Eugene Meltsner: Tactfully put, Miss Kendall.

Jack Allen: If it's all right, I have to run some errands in Connersville.