My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This hilarious “jungle noir” mystery features endangered animals, a panda detective, villainous snakes and shrews, and one very enigmatic green bird.
Jake G. Panda is a hotel detective who gets involved in a mystery that will lead him on an adventure across the Sahara, through Morocco, and to fabled lost cities in Asia. Following the signs of the green bird, Jake has to fight off not only poaching humans, but also back-stabbing animals willing to make a few dollars on other animals’ misery.
The humor is wonderful with lots of puns and classic lines from film noir! It reads like a funny version of the Maltese Falcon or Casablanca. It’s hilarious and delightful to read!
The characters are mostly endangered species with their own funny characteristics; the grumpy waitress at the diner, the jovial hotel clerk with a past to hide, the dumb but loyal sidekick, and of course the beautiful femme fatale singer in the club.
The only thing I didn’t like was the writing style. It’s written in present tense which always gets on my nerves, and there are cues as though it were a movie script. Sometimes it cuts to another scene and I have to stop and figure out where things are happening; that was jarring, and I wish it flowed more smoothly or had page breaks in between scenes to help show more clearly that the scene has changed. But that’s just my personal peeve; it’s actually written clearly and well.
A very fun book for kids to educate them about different types of endangered species without feeling like a textbook lesson!