A spiral-bound diary that's slightly larger than A5 and fits snugly next to the telephone, the Dodo Pad is, however, much more than just an ordinary recorder of daily dates and events. It also has enough space for messages and doodles and is packed full of amusing verses, quizzes and word-plays, quirky facts and quotes, and plenty of humorous illustrations.
Laid out as a grid, a week to each page, the diary aspect of the Dodo has been especially designed for busy families, with a space for each member who, once they can write, can scribble their name at the top and make their own personal entries.
For busy parents trying to keep tabs on their equally busy brood, the Dodo Pad should prove invaluable, especially in an age when after school activities mean that most youngsters have more social engagements than the average 'It' girl.
DodoPadlers, as users of the diary are affectionately known, will not only become familiar with what each member of the household is up to, but will also learn some pretty obscure historical dates. For instance, did you know that Adolphe Sax, Belgian inventor of the saxophone, died on 7 February 1894, or that on 9 December 1868 the first traffic lights were erected in Westminster, London? It's strangely educational and will make you really popular at the next pub quiz night.
These delightfully eccentric entries are accompanied on the opposite page by pertinent pieces of trivia, be it newspaper clippings of the time or poems, quotes or stories about the subjects featured.
Take the entry for Noah Webster, a US lexicographer who died on 28 May 1843. According to legend, one day Webster's wife discovered him in the embrace of one of their maidservants. 'Why Noah, I am surprised!' she said. 'No, my dear,' replied Webster, 'You are astonished; it is I who am surprised.'
The Dodo, far from being extinct, is crammed full of such lively little gems and, where date-relevant tit bits are thin on the ground, the creators simply throw in a joke or a limerick. Who could fail to be amused by:
A doughty old person in Leeds
Rashly swallowed a packet of seeds
In a month, silly ass
He was covered in grass
And he couldn't sit down for the weeds.
In the words of its creators, the Dodo Pad is 'a combined memo-doodle-engage-diary-message-ment book,' with a wit and wisdom that's sure to make it an extremely useful and much loved part of modern family life.
This is quite an accolade for a paper based diary in this world of electronic timekeepers/organizers etc., given that the first edition of the Dodo Pad was in 1966 and it has been published annually ever since. It now comes in various other formats (wall-hanging pad, handbag 'mini' pad, loose-leaf PAX version and an Acad-Pad diary which runs for the twelve months of the academic year starting in September).
And the brains at Dodo Towers (the home of its creator, Lord Dodo, which can be visited and toured in cyberspace) have come up with a whole host of other organisers to help keep tabs on various parts of life: recipe filing, garden clippings, travel notes, wedding plans, pregnancy matters - to name but a few!
It just goes to show that for families and many other people, writing it down is a far more practical way of keeping information to hand.
The Dodo might be dead, but long live the Dodo Pad!
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