#276 – Ariol #1: Just a Donkey Like You and Me by Emmanuel Guibert (Graphic Novel Week Day 3)

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Welcome Back to Graphic Novel Week, Day 2

Ariol1-COVAriol #1: Just a Donkey Like You and Me

Emmanuel Guibert

Marc Boutavant, illustrator

Joe Johnson, translator

Papercutz Graphic Novels

5 stars

Press Release:  Have you ever wanted to live in a place where it’s summer year-round and skip those cold, cold winter mornings?  Have you ever tried to get out of the really hard stuff in gym class?  Have you ever wondered why school starts so darned early?  If so, it sounds like you were once a kid, and if you were ever a kid, you’ll love Ariol.  It’s hard to find children’s books that show us the way life as a kid actually is rather than how we all want it to be; Ariol is the straight story about growing up and all its ridiculousness, told in tidy sitcom-like vignettes that aren’t just funny but surprisingly true.

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Meet Ariol, an eyeglasses wearing, suburban kid.  He lives with both parents, runs around with a diverse selection of friends, and has an active, rich imagination.  At school, Ariol has classes with a big old dog and gym with a huge rooster who likes to interject “in fact” into odd places in his speech.  Yep, that is right, a big old dog.  Who else is going to get through to a little blue donkey infatuated with a pretty heifer?  His best friend is a pig and his idol is Thunder Horse, a television show Ariol is flabbergasted his friend Battlemess has never seen, despite having a television set in his stall.

This new children’s graphic novel comes from the team of Emmanuel Guibert, author of S.A.R.D.I.N.E., his children’s graphic novel that is a hit around the world, and critically acclaimed children’s book illustrator Marc Boutavant whose Around the World with Mouk is the inspiration behind a Disney animated series called Mouk in the U.K.  Together, they have produced a hilarious graphic novel kids will love and parents will find funny, because they have lived through most of Ariol’s life.

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The story begins on a cold, cold winter morning.  Dad gruffly tells Ariol it is time to get up.  Then mom enters singing,

“Ari-OL.  You have to get uuu-up.” 

Ariol is snuggled in his warm bed.  He avoids getting up, until dad returns.  Ariol, an ingenious sort of kid, has readied his school cloths.  He likes the layered look of a T-shirt, shirt, and sweater, combined for that slip-on-once, cold morning experience.  Sound familiar, anyone?

Most of the vignettes revolve around Ariol and his friends at school, but not all.  He stops to pick up friend Petula, and over hears mom calling the actual heifer “Moo-Moo.”  Petula admonishes mom and Ariol, who loves the name because he has a crush on his longtime friend, makes a mental note not to repeat the nickname.  He does.  Ariol find the perfect way to calm is friend.  Ariol tell Petula something all girls love to hear a secret.

It is difficult to give an accurate account of the story because the book is a slice-of-life from day-to-day without a central theme, except meeting the cast of this delicious graphic novel for kids.  Ariol worries that he is dumb . . . because he is a donkey and he cannot be Thunder Horse . . . because he is a donkey.  A humorous chat with mom begins.  Ariol tries to convince mom that “Dumb-as-a-donkey” and “dumbass” must be true.  Why?  Because “people” say pigs are dirty and they are, at least his friend Ramono—who puts his finger up his snout and farts—Is dirty.

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In Ariol’s child-like concrete thinking, if it is true pigs are dirty—he has proof in Ramono—then donkeys must be dumb.  Finally convinced not all pigs are filthy and not all donkeys are dumb, Ariol happily runs out the door and lassos those imaginary “people” who call him dumb.  Dad rounds the corner and demands to know who is telling his son donkeys are dumb and the process continues, off the pages, but you know it continues.

Ariol is going to be a hit, no doubt about it.  The funny is in the true vignettes, humorous if you’ve lived through it.  Using animals of all kinds diffuses the sometimes-harsh realities in Ariol’s life.  Realities most kids, and most adults who were once kids, face at some point.  Ariol is perfect reading for a reluctant reader.  They can read one short vignette or several, start at one, and build up to a predetermined number of vignettes.  In this way, Ariol is a teacher’s best weapon against those kids who claim they hate to read.  If that hate is not changed into a love of reading at an early age, the hate to read will last a long lifetime.  Many books exist for reluctant readers.  Add Ariol to that list—at the top of the list.  I dare you to put it down once you start, and you’ll agree, Ariol is the new kid in town for reluctant readers.

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Let’s not forget those kids that are okay with reading or are voracious readers.  Ariol will tickle their funny bone raw.  Not dumbed down or slow moving, Ariol is the perfect read anytime, for nearly anyone.  Perfect for bedtime, If you can resist your child begging and pleading for “just one more, please?”  Who will not like Ariol?  I need get back to you on that question.  When the laughter stops there may be an answer.

Click here for: Interview with Guibert and Boutavant

Ariol #1: Just a Donkey Like You and Me

Emmanuel Guibert         bio page
Marc Boutavant, illustrator    gallery
Joe Johnson, translator
Papercutz Graphic Novels     website
Releases on February 19, 2013   Pre-Order Today
ISBN: 978-1-59707-399-8
124 pages
Ages: 7 and up

available digitally

Copyright © 2013 by Papercutz Graphic Novels, used with permission
Text: copyright © 2008 By Emmanuel Guibert
Illustrations:  © 2008 by Marc Boutavant

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book donated to library courtesy of author & publisher

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5 thoughts on “#276 – Ariol #1: Just a Donkey Like You and Me by Emmanuel Guibert (Graphic Novel Week Day 3)

  1. Pingback: The Gosh! Authority 12/02/13 » Gosh! London – the Culture of Comics

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