The Extincts by Veronica Cossanteli
Silly fun with George and a novel way of earning a new bike…
George’s bike has been nicked! He put it down outside the sweetshop and when he came out bam! some beast had pilfered it! Handily though there’s an advert in the sweetshop window for a nearby farm who’re looking for someone to help look after the animals. Ignoring the fact that ink the advert was written in keeps changing colour, George sets off to prove he’s the right man for the job. Only when he gets there he discovers these animals aren’t exactly your everyday cat and dog. Oh no… first there are the ducks, that don’t eat breadcrumbs. Then there’s the small matter of the indefinable animal sitting in the owner’s hat munching the fruit. And finally, there’s the small matter of the dodo roosting in the corner. With evil neighbourhood taxidermist Diamond Pye nosing around looking for her next project to win the Golden Brain Spoon, will Geroge be able to keep his menagerie safe and himself from being dinner?
First off, how come I’ve never read a book with a taxidermist as a baddy before?! Seriously, it’s like every bad guy tick box ticked off in one go! Dead animals, tick. Creepy instruments (brain spoons, shudder) tick. Willing to kill, tick. Evil scheme, tick tick tick. To top it off, Diamond Pye is even the stepmother to George’s partner in the book, Prudence, so not only is she an evil taxidermist, but she’s a fairy-tale-favourite evil stepmother taxidermist! With an everpresent lollipop and multicoloured hair! Seriously, stroke of genius right here – you know you’re reading a good Baddy when they covet such lovelies as a Golden Brain Spoon.
Anyway, it’s rather an amusing romp this book and there’s a lot to like in it aside from evil taxidermists. Personally I’m very fond of George’s rather eccentric family, like his mum who stands on her head and tries out a few yoga moves whenever she gets stressed (with the occsaional hand on the nearest piece of furniture when she starts to wobble). His two older sisters are great fun too – Frank, who charges George interest in the wages he collects for walking dogs for her, and Harry, who goes to a lot of odd parties in even odder cosutmes (a tarantula?!). There’s a certain similarity to How to Train Your Dragon here too, it’s that sort of style of humour.
The real stars of the book though are the animals on the farm. The variety is what struck me since we’ve got everything covered from dodos to Early Mammals to dinosaurs to mythical creatures. It’s not often you find a book that features a ouroborous after all!
Definately one to look out for and I really hope Geroge’s adventures on the farm continue.
Find The Extincts (and it’s broody dodo) here.