Today I'm happy to post both a review and a giveaway. After you check out the review, don't forgot to scroll down and enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book from the author.
The Case of the Cursed Dodo by Jake G. Panda
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Case of the Cursed Dodo is a rather unique read mixing the feel of an old mystery detective show with endangered animal rights activism. Jake the panda is a detective based in the Last Resort, a hotel for endangered animals. A phone call from a friend in trouble sets him on the path of both a kidnapping and an unsolved mystery.
The story is interesting and well-edited. The approach taken to tell the story is unique, more like watching a movie than reading a book. Everything is organized in scenes, with camera perspective shifts indicated in all caps. The narration lines are in italics, so you know when the narrator's voice over is happening. I tended to imagine a deep rumbly voice for these, as I believe they are told from Jake's perspective.
I also like that all of the characters are animals, though I thought some of them could use a bit more description. The focus is on endangered animals, and those are the nearly exclusive focus of the cast list. The downside is that some of them are rather obscure, so without description or illustration, they are hard to imagine. It seems at times almost like a catalog of the creatures.
The illustrations in the book are well done. I thought they were classy and fit the story. They have a sort of dreamlike feel, or perhaps a sense of being in an older era. I looked at them on both my tablet and my kindle (a regular cheap kindle) and they looked great on both.
The plot and the terminology meant to land us in the old detective setting from the black and white movie era, while interesting and entertaining, might not exactly make sense to children unless they happen to have watched movies from the genre that inspired this story. Personally, I think older folks would like this story the best. I was reminded of Dick Tracy and Warner Brothers cartoons that feature detectives. Still, I think children will enjoy the story for the animals and the action, all of which is kid friendly (to a degree). As always, I'd recommend that adults read the story ahead of time before giving it to their kids.
So, overall, I thought this was interesting and easy to read. The story, while meant to inspire nostalgia, will probably only do so for older readers. Younger readers will likely enjoy the animal characters and the illustrations. I'd recommend this to people who enjoy mysteries and sleuthing stories, classic movies about the same, and illustrated books. Those who also appreciate stories that raise their awareness about issues in non-preachy ways will find this story satisfying in that regard.
I received a copy of this from the author in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review.
Enter below for a chance to win an autographed copy of The Case of the Cursed Dodo! This raffle is open only to US Residents.
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Author and Book Links
Main website: http://www.endangeredfiles.com -- Links to sites where children and readers can learn more about the endangered animals in this book, such as what they look like.
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jakegpandapi or @jakegpandapi
Find a copy of this book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/0990939111