From School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Originally published in France, this energetic graphic novel follows the life of a tween donkey named Ariol and highlights his adventures (and misadventures) with his friends, classmates, and family members. The everyday situations that he experiences-interactions with his parents, difficult teachers, arguments with classmates-will resonate with kids, as will the realistic (yet extremely funny) dialogue. Guibert also tackles more overarching themes such as self-esteem, first crushes, and the importance of friendship with subtlety and humor. Boutavant's brightly colored illustrations portray the diverse cast of animal characters in delightful and accessible ways. Great for reluctant readers and graphic-novel fans in general, this title will be a popular addition.-Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Though he produced such thoughtful adult fare as Alan’s War (2008) and The Photographer (2009), French author Guibert is also known for the exceedingly child-centric series Sardine in Outer Space. Ariol and his ensemble are a more Earth-bound cast of anthropomorphized animal children, but the author continues to display a deep understanding of what makes kids tick. He goes in a far less fantastical direction in these 10 10-page stories, originally from France, which offer subtly humorous slice-of-life vignettes. Whether Ariol is joining his father for a trip to the ATM, arguing with a friend about sneakers, accompanying his grandmother to the movies, pursuing his great crush, or emulating his favorite superhero, the author dares to depict the exclusionary, argumentative, self-centered ways children can sometimes behave, without giving up an iota of their charm. There is even a piece that touches on racism, letting animal species bear the brunt of the offenses, which could prove a great boon to many classroom discussions. Collaborator Boutavant captures the manic internal life of Ariol and friends with fun, deceptively childlike art. Grades 2-4. --Jesse Karp