Review Copy: The Case of the Cursed Dodo

*Note: I received a free copy of this audio book from the author. All opinions are my own.

I’ve already read and reviewed the physical version of this book (you can read that review here), so it probably won’t come as a surprise that I enjoyed the audio version. This audio book is special–it’s more like an old-time radio show than a regular audio book. I loved the music, the sound effects, the voice over, and all the character voices. They really keep the story interesting.

I think kids will love this. Everything from the plot (hard-boiled PI panda has to solve a mystery and save endangered animals from harm) to the voice acting and sound effects is fun and engaging. Although adults might notice the fair amount of cliches and stereotypical characters, it’s still an enjoyable story, something the whole family can listen to together.

P.S. If you are a teacher or parent, the author has also provided these cool online resources for learning more about radio drama and endangered animals. Check them out!

ARC: The Case of the Cursed Dodo

The Case of the Cursed Dodo is a fun adventure, told in "jungle noir" style. #spon | A book review by Newbery and Beyond
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Note: I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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. (Summary via Amazon.com)

Everything about this book is just adorable. You can’t see it well in the picture, but even the cover and spine have (fake) worn edges and creases, as if this book has been well loved. The book itself is wonderful, too. It’s about a panda who’s a hard-boiled PI, helping out other endangered animals in a way that is neither cutesy nor preachy. In The Case of the Cursed Dodo, Jake goes on a misadventure across the globe to chase down a mysterious green bird. He comes across many animals along the way–some who want to help and others ready to sell him out.

The book is written like a screenplay, which is a really fun and unusual technique–I don’t think I’ve ever read another book written that way. It’s also full of tropes (in a good way) from noir books and movies. This gives Jake a great voice (including, yes, voice-overs!) as well.

In addition to all this, there are drawings of the characters, and get this–they’re not cartoony! (Yes, this is important to me…) The animals are all drawn (at least mostly) true to life, and as an avowed hater of cutesy animal stories (with a few notable exceptions), I was really glad to see this realism.

Basically, I loved this book from the moment I got it, and the story was super fun as well. Any kid (or adult!) who’s looking for a fast-paced mystery with a quirky style and fun animal characters will love this. I look forward to reading the next book in this series!

Rating: Re-read Worthy

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