Dodos are NOT extinct by Paddy Donnelly

Dodos are NOT extinct by Paddy Donnelly. Yeehoo Press, 2022. 9781953458209

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book?  This tongue-in-cheek picture book supposes that dodos really aren’t extinct, and neither are a host of other disappeared creatures. Instead, in an effort to evade the paparazzi, they’re hiding in plain sight. The dodos wear false beaks and hide among pelicans and toucans, wooly mammoths shave off their long brown locks and pose as elephants, Tasmanian tigers paint over their stripes, and dinosaurs just dress up as humans. The illustrations are funny and cartoonish, with the disguises played for laughs. A timeline on the back endpapers gives information about extinct species, including the Irish Elk (last lived 7000 years ago) to more modern losses like the passenger pigeon (last seen in 1914). Kids who enjoy visual humor will get a kick out of the quagga (front end resembles a zebra and back end a horse) hiding his stripes with a fuzzy brown sweater or the pterodactlys who’ve successfully disguised themselves as pelicans with the help of duct tape.

Anything you didn’t like about it? I was confused by both the premise and the tone of this book and think young kids might be too. In his afterwards, the author writes “I hope this book was a fun introduction to the fascinating world of extinct animals. Unfortunately, many of the animal species in this book have, in fact, died out.” I’m not sure “fun” and “died out” naturally go together. And extinct animals aren’t actually hiding behind trench coats and false mustaches. 

To whom would you recommend this book?  Fans of Carnivores by Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat may find this mix of humor, cartooning, and factual information appealing.

Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries

Where would you shelve it? Picture books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA

Date of review: April 26, 2022

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