cover image Flight of the Dodo

Flight of the Dodo

Peter Brown, . . Little, Brown, $15.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-316-11038-9

Mild scatological humor provides a running theme through newcomer Brown's tale of a group of flightless birds determined to get themselves airborne. The story opens with Penguin enjoying a beautiful morning. "But just when he waddled outside... Splat !!! A goose pooped on Penguin." This proves the final indignity Penguin can take from the "Flappers." He decides to organize the other "Waddlers"—Ostrich, Kiwi and Cassowary—to invent a flying machine. The following spread captures their initial misguided efforts (e.g., they pump themselves full of air, stand on an upside down fan). Finally, however, they construct a hot-air balloon, which they name Dodo , don goggles and "[say] good-bye to the ground for the first time in their lives." Brown's breathtaking full-bleed spreads document the quartet's success, with vistas of land, sea and sky that stretch past the pages' boundaries. Youngsters can almost feel the birds' joy at their journey, which allows them all their longed-for experiences (Cassowary tastes clouds, for instance, and "Penguin finally felt the thrill of target pooping"). At one point they pass the geese they've envied for so long, and these rivals play a surprise role in the denouement. The action takes place against backgrounds of solid colors in earth tones, and Brown sneaks in numerous visual jokes (Penguin eating a worm sandwich, a goose wearing a muffler) sure to appeal to youngsters. An engaging and mischievous romp that marks the start of a promising new talent. Ages 3-6. (Oct.)