Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Case of the Cursed Dodo (The Endangered Files Book #1) by Jake G. Panda

The Case of the Cursed Dodo (The Endangered Files, #1)The Case of the Cursed Dodo by Jake G. Panda
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was intrigued when I received a review copy of The Case of the Cursed Dodo. I wasn’t entirely sure what a “jungle noir” book for children was all about. This book is not only a wonderfully original idea, but an absolute delight to read!

So, how do I explain this book? It’s like Casablanca, only with endangered animals. That in itself is cool considering it’s geared toward upper elementary/middle-school readers. Jake Panda is the in-house detective at the Wildlife’s Last Resort, a getaway for endangered species. There are many fun and furry characters encountered here and on Jake’s outside adventures.

It’s also very unique in that the whole book is written as a script. Now, I’m not familiar with reading scripts, but it was really neat that directions for shots and settings were introduced in that way.

As an educator, I could see this book being used to facilitate teaching visualizing to older students who still struggle with this. If you’re like me, when you read a book, there is actually a movie playing in your head. You see/hear/feel everything that’s going on. This is visualizing. It’s a reading comprehension strategy often taught to young students. In my opinion, older kids and adults who don’t like reading fiction probably have difficulty or just don’t visualize what they’re reading. They don’t have a movie playing, so they think reading is boring. Using the Cursed Dodo (and hopefully other books in the series if they follow suit) would be a great way to scaffold visualizing with older readers because it guides what we are to see (experience) in each scene.

As a reader, this was a story I really enjoyed. There are interesting characters (including a wide array of endangered animals – one or two I’d never even heard of), fun plot twists, and great messages about protecting endangered species. The illustrations are very cool as well and add a great deal to the overall presentation of this eBook.

Highly recommended!

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