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The Extincts – Veronica Cossanteli

“The weird stuff all began with £3.72.

I didn’t know it was £3.72, of course, until I picked it up – a scattering of coins on a wet pavement – and counted it.
George Drake, it’s your lucky day! Three strickes at Bumper Bowl with Josh and Matt – and now FREE MONEY! I let the coins trickle out of my hand, into my pocket, and got back onto my bike.”

When George finds £3.72 on the floor it sets of a chain of events, his bike is stolen, his mothers washing machine has broken again and his friends will laugh at him if he even dared try to turn up on his sisters old bike. He needs a job so he can buy a new bike, and he needs one fast. When he spots a cryptic advert seeking assistance at Wormestall Farm he knows he needs to go for it and he loves it there. Wormestall farm is fully of scary creatures, some of which are believed to be extinct, and when Mortifer, the basilisk, goes missing its up to George to find him before the evil taxidermist Diamond Pye gets him. 

***
Oh man, this book was amazing!! Middle Grade adventure story with extinct animals (including dinosaurs), crazy old ladies and a villain who rivals Cruella De Vil, what more do you want? I was in my element with The Extincts and I know so many other people will be too! 
The story is brilliant, though not quite realistic but we can let that go. 11 year old George needs money and applies for a job at a nearby farm. Though that farm isn’t normal, its fully of extinct and mythical creatures and a kindly old lady who doesn’t like people, unless they are the Right Sort. The town’s animals are going missing and that is unsettling a lot of people, but the farm is at most risk from villain Diamond Pye and she is evil. Prudence is a friend of George’s, but don’t let him hear you say that, and she happens to be Diamond Pye’s stepdaughter. 
The characters we meet in The Extincts are all kind of eccentric and I loved them for it. George seems relatively normal but his mum has a habit of standing on her head (yoga), his older sisters are always busy being either an uber bookworm or something silver for some kind of fancy dress party and his dad isn’t around because he got bored of being a dad and ran off to Australia; he still calls every now and then. Diamond changes her hair with every outfit and chain-sucks on lollipops, giving her a habit just like Cruella’s smoking one but more likely to cause diabetes than lung cancer I suppose, and she even has the two goons ‘helping’ her out. 
I really couldn’t get enough of The Extincts, its writing style was brilliant and the mirroring of the classic 101 Dalmatians really made it enjoyable for me, though obviously every animal was at risk with Diamond Pye, not just puppies. The writing flowed well and kept up pace the whole way through, I have no doubt that it, and the wonderful animations throughout, would keep any young readers attention. I think my one and only flaw of the book would be that there weren’t enough images of the animals mentioned on the farm, I don’t think the archaeoptryx or the aurochs were shown in illustrative form which made it a bit more difficult for me to picture them, and the Ducks of Doom were shown a lot later than they were introduced. However that may just be me being picky! 
The Extincts will be published on May 2nd by Chicken House books. My copy was sent from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

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