This is a humorous children’s book that has a fun and lighthearted feel, wherein the protagonist, Dodo, wants to let us in on a big secret about ‘extinct’ animals that are here and there among us incognito! The illustrations are amusing and visually pleasing and there is a lot of learning to be gleaned from the book in a very natural way. It is definitely a book that opens up many lines of conversation with children.
My favourite part was the bit about the quagga (a sort of half zebra, half horse), which I had never heard of and it was funny how this creature was shown wearing either trousers or a jumper to blend in! I found the ending a little abrupt so I was not too enthusiastic about that. I was very impressed by what is a kind of factual appendix with a number of extinct animals and descriptions about them, where and when they lived and how they came to be extinct.
I feel this book would be best suited to children from about 5 to 8 years as they would be well able to engage in conversation around the animals and what it means that they are now extinct. The appendix would serve as excellent personal reading for children from ages 7 or 8 and beyond.
From a teaching point of view the book would be very useful as a starting point for a lesson or series of lessons for children even up to fifth or sixth class. There would be a wealth of teaching material in the area of SESE around climate change, animal welfare, history, myths and legends, world geography etc.
As an overall piece, taking into consideration storyline, characters, illustrations and so on, I would give this book a rating of 7 out of 10.
by Nollaig Bourke, teacher in Scoil Naomh Eoin, Killenard, Co. Laois
“Dodos Are Not Extinct” written and illustrated by Paddy Donnelly, published by O’Brien Press, is on sale now for €11.99 (P/B).
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher, O’Brien Press, free of charge to Seomra Ranga for the purposes of this review