I Am Dodo: Not a True Story

Overview

This tale of a unique bird, a lonely professor, and some urban magic is both funny and touching. An unusually smart dodo has managed to escape extinction and is living happily in a big city. The city is also home to a professor, the only person who is sure that somewhere, somehow, a dodo is alive. A chance encounter turns these two into hunted and hunter: the professor wants to capture Dodo and show the scientific world that he was right . . . but Dodo doesn’t want to live in a cage. How this standoff develops ...

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Overview

This tale of a unique bird, a lonely professor, and some urban magic is both funny and touching. An unusually smart dodo has managed to escape extinction and is living happily in a big city. The city is also home to a professor, the only person who is sure that somewhere, somehow, a dodo is alive. A chance encounter turns these two into hunted and hunter: the professor wants to capture Dodo and show the scientific world that he was right . . . but Dodo doesn’t want to live in a cage. How this standoff develops into a friendship, proving that indeed anything can happen in the big city, is told in Kae Nishimura’s fresh, original text and distinctively comic illustrations.

When a professor who believes that the dodo is not yet extinct finally finds one in New York City, he does everything he can think of to capture the bird until he learns why Dodo should be free.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Barbara Youngblood
Everyone thinks the dodo bird is extinct. Everyone that is, except a lonely professor in New York who happens to visit Central Park often, and is familiar with the legendary dodo bird. Dodo, it seems, is more clever than anyone thought and has traveled the world. When he jumps ship in New York, the professor and the dodo bird are destined to cross paths. Many ingenious attempts to capture the elusive bird fail, and when the professor appears to give up the dodo bird starts to search for him. This is the second book for the author/illustrator, who creates a unique story enhanced by her drawings.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 3-In this quirky story, readers are taken back to "once upon a time," when dodo birds became extinct. One "quicker and smarter" bird manages to survive, and one dedicated professor "who had studied dodo birds for more than seventy years" stubbornly believes in its existence. After traveling the world, this sole dodo settles in New York City, where he can dance and spend a lot of time in the park. Then one day, he and the professor have one of those big-city chance encounters. The professor wants to catch the bird so that people will finally believe his theory, but Dodo really doesn't want to be caught. Finally, after high pursuit and a clever twist, Dodo and the professor become close friends who dance and spend a lot of time in the park. Done in rich watercolors with thick lines, the offbeat illustrations add punch and details that bring out the wry humor of the story. A note on the dedication page reminds readers caught up in Dodo's adventures that "Unfortunately, as far as we know, the dodo (Raphus cucullatus) really is extinct." This amusing tale is a treat to read aloud and pays special tribute to New York City and the two unlikely friends.-Julie Roach, Watertown Free Public Library, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
This fanciful tale, chock-full of worthy messages about freedom and friendship, belief and determination, may appeal more to adults than to preschoolers. Despite the destruction of its habitat and the deaths of all of its fellow creatures, one Dodo "quicker and smarter than the others" manages to survive. After traveling the world, Dodo settles in New York. Most people are too busy to notice. Those that do simply don't believe their own eyes. But one elderly professor believes-and tries to capture Dodo to prove his existence to the world. Dodo eludes capture, but comes to enjoy the professor's companionship and acknowledgement. When the professor finally gives up his efforts to cage Dodo, the two become fast friends. Flat, child-like watercolors in subdued tones show a busy city and a round, clever, quizzical bird. Small vignettes alternate with single- and double-page spreads and keep the story flowing smoothly despite the enormous ground covered. Dodo's understated charms may not find a wide audience, but some listeners, like the professor, will be only too happy to believe. (Picture book. 3-6)
From the Publisher
The offbeat illustrations add punch and details . . . this amusing tale is a treat to read aloud.” SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL School Library Journal

"Fanciful tale, chock-full of worthy messages about freedm and friendship, belief and determination." KIRKUS Kirkus Reviews

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641974212
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
  • Publication date: 11/21/2008
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 1 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kae Nishimura is the author and illustrator of DINAH! A CAT ADVENTURE and I AM DODO. For BUNNY LUNE, she drew inspiration from her childhood in Aichi, Japan, and from the funny and unusual things that often occur on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, where she now lives.

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