When you get a request from a Panda to review a book that they’ve written, you don’t say no. So when Jake G. Panda asked me to review The Case of the Cursed Dodo from the Endangered Files, I told him to send me a copy and I’d review it. This is my honest review…
Enter reviewer, stage right…..
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.
This hilarious first installment of The Endangered Files follows Jake, a hardboiled panda detective, and an unusual cast of endangered creatures on a globe-trotting adventure that will appeal to young and old alike.
The Case of the Cursed Dodo is very different from most middle grade books. It is written in film format. In other words, scenes are described the way a script would read. It is so unique that it takes a little bit of getting used to, but it is extremely educational for movie loving kids. Who doesn’t dream of starring in a movie or directing a big screen hit someday? I know that I did! I had my “I’d like to thank the academy” speech planned out complete with thanking all the little people who made my film happen. A girl can dream. The way that this book is written gives kids a glimpse into the world of noir, a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly those that emphasize cynical attitudes. This book is, according to Jake G. Panda, jungle noir complete with gambling dens and shady characters.
There are parts of this book that I really love and others that I think are a bit too much for kids. The writing style takes a bit of getting used to, so kids might not “get” everything that is happening in the story. However, I think this would be a great book for teachers or homeschoolers to use for learning about endangered animals, geography and movie making. I could just see an ingenious film loving 12 year old making this into a stop action movie. As I was reading the different characters, I could see writing a whole lesson plan based on the endangered characters alone. It’s too bad common core probably wouldn’t allow for so much creativity……but that’s another story. If you want to learn more about the endangered creatures featured in this book, the book’s website, The Endangered Files, has a page of links for you to go to to learn more.
I definitely recommend this book. I highly recommend it to parents and teachers who want to make it into a fun learning experience to use with their children and classes. I just saw that there is a link on the website that says teaching guide, but it didn’t work for me. Perhaps it is in the planning stages right now. Keep checking for that! That would make it even easier for you to use as a teaching tool!