Friday, September 27, 2013

Ariol #1 Review

Ariol #1: Just a Donkey Like You and Me

Book talk:  The days are shorter than recess and Ariol would like nothing better than to migrate South like a bird.  But instead he has to leave his warm, comfy bed to go to school every morning.  School's not all bad, there's his best friend Ramono who always comes up with cool games to play and pranks to pull.  And Petula, who is the prettiest cow Ariol has ever seen.  On the other hand there's also Mr. Ribera, the gym teacher who, in fact, has no sense of humor and Bizzbilla who won't leave him alone. If Ariol was Thunder Horse he'd show them all. He'd be the best in gym and always know what to say and no one would be able to tell him what to do.  But he's not Thunder Horse, he's just a regular guy like you and me.

Rocks my socks:  This comic is hilarious!  It captures so many moments of childhood perfectly from when Ariol plays a game by himself while providing his own running sports commentary to his reluctance to leave his warm, cozy, bed in the morning.  Any teacher will be able to recognize the truth and humor in the story where Mr. Blunt tries to come up with a clever story to teach his students prepositions.  Ariol leaves class remembering the funny parts of the story without remembering anything about prepositions at all.  There's plenty that made me recall my own childhood as well.  Like Ariol, I used to stare out my mother's car window and pretend there were bad guys following us that we had to shake.  In the midst of all the humor there's some real heart too.  The story "As Dumb as a Donkey" deals with prejudice and stereotypes in a sweet way while maintaining the humorous tone of the collection.  The drawings are simple, colorful, charming, and expressive.  While they satirize childhood, the characters are still drawn with plenty of warmth and love.  They made me laugh in recognition of myself and others because they really are just like you and me.

Rocks in my socks: zip

Every book its reader: This comic reminded me a lot of another French school comic, Le Petit Nicolas.  I'd give it to anyone looking for a humorous comic set in a school.  There is one instance of the word 'dumbass' but it is referring to donkeys and it's used in the context of the story about stereotypes so it's discussed and dealt with well.  I'd say it's fine for second grade and up.


You can find an interview with the author here

Ariol has an official site with lots of goodies, but it's in French and it seems like you need to log in to access any of them.

There's a Ariol cartoon translated into English on YouTube:

Source: school library

Ariol: Just a Donkey Like You and Me by Emmanuel Guibert and Marc Boutavant: buy it or check it out today!

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