Monday, October 9, 2017

Fall Reading 2017 The Case of the Cursed Dodo (The Endangered Files #1)


Readers who are fans of film noir will have an enjoyable time following Jake G. Panda on his first publicized case. Jake is a hotel detective at Wildlife's Last Resort, which caters to endangered animals of all sorts. When his friend the Professor (a hispid hare), is kidnapped in the middle of a phone call to Jake, the furry detective sets out to find his missing friend and stumbles into a much bigger problem than he counted on. The case is packed with shady characters, double-crosses, underground operatives, mysterious clues, and knuckle-crunching action scenes. Jake's investigation leads him from the Last Resort, to a bazaar in Marrakesh, a poachers' camp, and even to Extinction City. Along the way he meets many other endangered animals - Siberian cranes, Mexican grizzly bears, Chinese alligators, and Himalayan tahrs - among others, and he also runs into a lady from his past.

Young readers will enjoy the tough gumshoe manner of Jake and the thrilling action scenes. Whether he is parachuting from an airplane, fighting on top of a moving train, or taking on poachers, there is plenty of opportunity for Jake to throw his weight around. Adults reading along with their children or students will laugh at the many cliches, puns, and the sly references to films like "Casa Blanca." The way the story is written as if it were a screen play adds to the feeling that one is watching an old black & white detective show. If you are a mystery fan, and don't mind if the detective is a furry bamboo-eater, you should give it a try. This would also make a great way to kick off a unit on endangered animals. Each student could choose one of the characters from the story and research what has caused each of the animals to be placed on the endangered species list.

Whether you are interested in endangered animals, enjoy detective stories, or like to close your eyes and listen to someone read - The Case of the Cursed Dodo fits the bill. In the audiobook adaptation, the story of Jake Panda's investigation into a friend's disappearance comes to vivid life with skilled voice actors, sound effects, and more. Each chapter is presented as if it were an episode in an old-time radio serial. That makes it perfect for listeners, because each chapter begins with a brief recap of the previous action, bringing everyone up to speed. Whether Jake is sloshing through underground tunnels, dropping from the sky, or slugging it out on top of a moving train, there are plenty of thrills and excitement to keep listeners tuned in. There is also plenty of humor, cliffhangers, and a bit of romance. Jake's hard-boiled detective persona is perfect for this type of presentation. Readers and listeners will want to know when the next adventure will be broadcast. With nods to classic stories like "The Maltese Falcon" and "Casa Blanca," and as much globetrotting as an Indiana Jones movie, this case file is an entertaining read or listen for all ages.  

There are free activities and resources available at Jake's website: .

I received a copy from the author for review purposes.

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