A Dodo at Oxford is a masterpiece ... a real Oxford book, in every sense, full of wit and fantasy, and properly anchored in a very real seventeenth-century world. --Philip Pullman
A Dodo at Oxford is a classic in the making. From the city that brought us the Cheshire Cat and the Mock Turtle comes a new mythic beast, the Oxford Student's indefatigable Dodo. Books of such wit, charm and scholarship are as rare as the eponymous beast at its centre. Savour it slowly, page by glorious page, and then buy it in truckloads for every booklover on your Christmas list. --John Mitchinson, co-author of The QI Book of General Ignorance
A Dodo at Oxford by Philip Atkins and Michael Johnson faultlessly links history with humour in a facsimile account of a dodo living in Oxford in the 17th century. It's a triumph of small press publishing and deserves to be the stocking filler of choice for all book lovers. --Patrick Neale, Bookseller's Choice: Christmas 2010 Round-up, The Bookseller, 10 September 2010
the editors have presented it [the diary] with scholarly care, charm and a very dry wit --Financial Times, Tim Souster, 18 September 2010
It threatens to be the most explosive `lost diary' find since the supposed discovery of the Hitler diaries were announced to a frenzy of worldwide interest 27 years ago. --The Oxford Times, full page feature by Reg Little, 19 August 2010
From the Inside Flap
In 2008 a diary was discovered amongst some books donated to a charity bookshop in Oxford. It was a most remarkable book, supposedly written over three hundred years ago by a student, describing his life and unusual pet, a dodo.
Everyone knows the dodo, a comic and ungainly bird, the sad symbol of extinction. But what was a living dodo really like? The author of the diary was a student of science and he recorded his pet's every move, as well as the reactions of his friends and acquaintances. He had some idea of the bird's rarity, but not that his pet might have been the last dodo to have walked upon the earth.
Doubts have been cast over the authenticity of the diary, so every page has been photographed and reprinted to enable readers to judge for themselves. As the publisher cannot guarantee that it is genuine, they have reluctantly placed the diary within the 'Historical Fiction' book subject category, until more information is known.
The editors, Philip Atkins and Michael Johnson, have included notes on the diary entries, on such topics as astrology, book production, doll's houses, and gout. Many items were found stuffed between the diary pages, including a bookmark, cigarette cards, and a 1973 fishmonger's receipt, and these are all illustrated.
As well as providing a portrait of the famous bird and glimpses of seventeenth-century Oxford, this is the history of a book: how it was printed, made, unmade, torn, stained, scribbled over, and forgotten. Now by strange good fortune both book and bird have come back to us, large as life.