An interview with Fiona Sandiford about The Great Dodo Comeback and her favourites adventure books for kids

The Great Dodo Comeback by Fiona Sandiford. Book cover and author photograph.

For this month’s reading adventure our Parakeet subscribers are heading off to Mauritius where they will be learning all about the island’s incredible wildlife and it’s most famous former resident, the dodo. The Great Dodo Comeback is a fun and exciting adventure story for newly independent readers, starring Leni, a kind, confident and hugely likeable heroine. Here we quiz author Fiona  Sandiford on what inspired the book and her favourite adventure reads for kids.

What inspired you to write The Great Dodo Comeback

In 2016, I stumbled across a news article in The Times about a dodo skeleton that was coming up for auction and it reminded me of an earlier story I’d read in National Geographic magazine, about de-extinction. It got me thinking, ‘What if they really could bring back the dodo?’ 

Why did you decide to set the book on Mauritius and did you visit the island to research the book? 

I originally set the story in the UK, but it just didn’t feel right somehow. However, when I had the idea of transporting the action to Mauritius, it all just clicked into place. Much as I would love to visit, I have never been to Mauritius myself, although I did do a lot of research about the country online. 

Do you have a favourite place to write? 

I used to go to cafes with my laptop, but now I have a study with a gorgeous antique desk and I like it there, with a dog at my feet and a cup of tea to hand.  

Why did you choose to write books for children? 

After many years writing and editing features for consumer magazines and newspapers, I thought it would be an exciting new challenge to write fiction, and for a different audience. 

What was your favourite book as a child? 

Gobbolino the Witch’s Cat by Ursula Moray Williams. 

What other adventure books for kids would you recommend our subscribers read next? 

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kästner, The Pig Scrolls by Paul Shipton and Darwin’s Dragons by Lindsay Galvin. 

If you could de-extinct any creature (other than the dodo!), what would you choose and why? 

The Tasmanian Tiger. It went extinct less than a century ago due to hunting, disease and habitat loss. Some grainy black and white footage of it remains, but to see a living, breathing animal with its stripy fur coat roaming in the forests of Tasmania again would be awesome.  


Grab your copy of the book along with our brilliant activity pack here.


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