The Case of the Cursed Dodo
By Jake G Panda
This book arrived in my inbox and its premise and amazing artwork intrigued me so I told Mr Panda that I would review it for him. This book is a charming mystery set in a Film Noir world filled entirely with endangered animals. The book reads like a Movie with Cuts and Fades that can take a little getting used to but once you let yourself into the Wildlife’s Last Resort Hotel you won’t want to leave!
Jake Panda is a private eye at the Wildlife’ Last Resort where you have to be endangered to check in. Mr Panda’ secretary is Eddie a small wooly mountain tapir who wears a bow tie. And his long time friend is a Himalayan bunny Professor who gets into a bit of trouble. Along the way we meet gorillas, constrictors, condors, rats, and countless others all engaged in a fantastic caper to discover the secrets hidden in a mysterious suitcase found in the desert.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story and I am not sure if it was the artwork that helped set the tone and reminded me of evenings watching old black and white films (several are referenced) or just the fun of such crazy things as a panda riding a dromedary or a gorilla running a fruit smuggling business from his hotel room but it is worth a read. I showed this to our librarian Melenie and she LOVED it. So expect this book to show up in our school library soon.
Parents note: The grisly descriptions of the slaughtered animals is short but memorable and might scare sensitive young readers. There is a little crude humor but think crude humor for 1940’s…so not that bad. The animals are all real and endangered, but having multiple obscure animals thrown at you one after the other can make it hard for a younger child to picture. So have Wiki or a wildlife picture book ready to hand over when they inevitably ask you what a Tehuantepic jackrabbit or long-beaked echnida is. There are humans but they are an afterthought and the book reads better when it revolves around a world made for animals.