(~please read post in an old detective or Humphrey Bogart ala Casablanca tone~)
Why hello there.
What's a guy/doll like you doing in a place like this? After all, this is Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers...the place where all the cool cats meet to get a little...bookish.
Today, we're cracking the spine on a unique read from the type of author you don't usually run across. The genre is Jungle Noir (Kid's Fiction along the Middle Grade line) and the mind behind the work is...a panda. Yeah, that's right. Jake G. Panda to be precise. He has this screenwriter fella help with the actual typing (panda paws weren't really made for pecking away at those tiny keys) but he prefers to stay in the shadows. Curious? I thought so too...but who am I to argue when my attention was needed elsewhere? Elsewhere, you ask? Yeah, elsewhere...as in between the pages of this book. Ladies and gents, put your appendages together as we welcome today's book of choice...
The Endangered Files #1
Woolly Family Studios
About the book...
If you're looking for trouble, you've found it. The name's Jake G. Panda, and trouble seems to follow me wherever I go. I work in the protection racket at a flophouse for endangered critters called the Last Resort. I'm the hotel snoop. The resident fuzz. It's my job to keep these guests safe and outta harm's way. This is the first of my many misadventures. A wild and woolly mystery involving a lost suitcase, a green bird, and a bunch of double-crossing animals. I'm calling this jungle noir The Case of the Cursed Dodo.
So, let's start at the beginning.
The way I requested that you read this post (and partially the way I've typed it up) is EXACTLY the way I read the book. That's right! I read the book with the proper inflections, being all swagger-y in voice while still granting the other characters their proper vocals as well. What's that? Oh, yes. I read the entire thing aloud to a very willing audience...who I must say adored my performance greatly, but the story itself EVEN MORE!
It's written in movie script format, an unusual take admittedly, but it works! It helps set the stage for each scene before it rolls out, lining the characters up to soar or be bowled over as seen fit. Sound harsh? Oh, but it's not! It's totally called for in some cases such as with Karl and his rat gang, Knuckles the reptilian muscle "man", Stan, Bedouin Joe, and...the list goes on and on. What can I say? They may be endangered but that doesn't stop the low down dirty dealings from happening. That's where Jake comes in. Speaking of Jake, he's got his paws full in this one with enough cloak and danger play going on to bamboozle anyone! One minute, it's all about discovering the owner of a mysterious suitcase, the next we're seeking the Professor whom we fear is in great danger, and so on and so on. It's all building to a crescendo as we discover just who the Jade Dodo belongs to, what its significance is, and just what lengths some will go to claim it as their own. *cue shot of a figure cloaked in shadow drawing ever closer*
The entertainment factor is HIGH in this one, but the EDUtainment is non-stop as well, and done in such a way that younger readers won't know what hit them (much like Daisy in the garden maze). There are so many names of endangered creatures coming at you, you'll need your own detective notebook to keep track but it does lay the groundwork for further investigation after the final page and what educator, parent, or guardian, can't feel good saying that? As for those readers outside the target audience, trust me...the education factor is worth it on its own but the rest of the text holds secrets for you as well. There are so many references to classic detective mysteries and inside jokes when it comes to the many animals in the cast that you won't be able to keep a smile off your face or a laugh from erupting belly wise as the pages fly by.
So you see my feathered and non-feathered friends, this is one story for the books in both content, writing, and presentation. It gives you the best of each world with the promise of more to come...now doesn't that sound like the start of a beautiful friendship?
About the author...
Jake G. Panda is a hard-nosed bear investigator. He likes bamboo and saving endangered wildlife. He is the author of The Endangered Files, a middle-grade mystery series designed to introduce young readers to the subject of endangered animals in a fun and informative way.
His partner in crime, the fella who helps write these stories, is a successful screenwriter. He prefers to keep a low profile and let Jake do all the talking. Both reside somewhere in New England.
Special thanks to Jake G. Panda for the chance to shed some light on this release as well as the review copy. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or to keep abreast of those titles still to come as well as connect with other fabulous and fun features, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title was released December 2014 via Woolly Family Studios, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Oh and one more thing before you go...
...you CAN NOT MISS THE BOOK TRAILER! It's a perfect match to the text, capturing the general mood, ambiance, and tone. I guess that's really not a surprise considering Jake's partner's background...
Until next time...happy reading!