I Am Dodo: Not a True Story

Kae Nishimura, Author, Kae Nishimura, Illustrator . Clarion $15 (32p) ISBN 978-0-618-33614-2

Nishimura's (Dinah! A Cat Adventure ) fanciful story is replete with zany plot twists, and the dodo hero is as endearing as a child's drawing of a new yellow chick. Unlike the actual doomed bird, the book's lone surviving dodo has escaped extinction by hitching a ride on a ship to New York City where he has been hiding out for years. Nishumura's eccentric characters are as loopy and insouciant as the "funny, happy dance" that Dodo likes to perform. When Dodo is discovered by the only professor in the world who still believes that the bird exists, the book becomes a game of hide-and-seek that readers of all ages can appreciate. The professor stalks the dodo with a butterfly net, sets traps and plants decoys to no avail. Nishimura's droll humor comes through in both art and text, and she balances detailed characterizations (such as Dodo's expressive eyes and the professor's dogged determination) with bustling city scenes. Dodo pretends to be an eagle on a statue as the goggle-eyed gent searches below, and disguises himself as a beribboned, pampered dog as the professor skulks by with a cage. Finally, when the fellow doesn't show up one day, the game is reversed. Dodo's climactic dance wins over his pursuer, who gives up all thoughts of capturing his newfound feathered companion. In an amusing and winning story about the importance of friendship, the joyful dodo and the dotty professor continue their game of hide-and-seek—just for fun. Ages 3-6. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 11/07/2005
Release date: 09/01/2005
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