The Endangered Files #1
by Jake G. Panda
Paperback, 180 pages
Published December 15, 2014
by Woolly Family Studios
In exchange for an honest review, a review copy was provided by the author for free.
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I'm always on the lookout for a book that my kiddo and I can enjoy together. The Case of the Cursed Dodo caught my eye for its engaging cover. It has a very old classic detective story feel to it, with the actual cover having an intentional distressed look that I wish you could see. The author and main character (Jake G. Panda), refers to the writing style for the story as endanger'd'scope or jungle noir, meaning the writing has a movie script feel with lines that include CUING IN, DISSOLVE TO and FADING IN. We really enjoyed this and felt like there was a whole visual aspect to the story that rooted you in the scene and the action going on. It had a Chet Gecko (by Bruce Hale) Mystery series vibe going on. The Book synopsis gives you a feel for the writing style...
From Goodreads: "If you're looking for trouble, you've found it. The name's Jake G. Panda, and trouble seems to follow me wherever I go. I work in the protection racket at a flophouse for endangered critters called the Last Resort. I'm the hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It's my job to keep these guests safe and outta harm's way. This is the first of my many misadventures. A wild and woolly mystery involving a lost suitcase, a green bird, and a bunch of double-crossing animals. I'm calling this jungle noir The Case of the Cursed Dodo."
We loved the old movie terminology (fuzz, hotel snoop, flophouse) and that it was packed with endangered species. Lots of fun. The Case of the Cursed Dodo includes lots of humor, mystery, adventure and animal jokes that define the animals nature. "Ernie's the hotel driver. A thick-skinned pachyderm with a chip on his shoulder. He lost his tusks in a hunting accident. And he's not the kinda guy to quickly forget. But I had a soft spot for the big fella. He had a lead foot and worked for peanuts." We also really enjoyed the black and white illustrations that punctuated the beginning of each chapter, highlighting the upcoming action. Overall, a fun, entertaining story written in a unique style that will appeal to middle grade readers and parents alike.
My copy was donated to the Public Middle School library following my review.