Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Small Readers: Ape and Armadillo take over the world by James Sturm

Ape and Armadillo are making plans to take over the world. But Ape isn't happy - why does he have to fight off all the monsters while Armadillo gets to ride into the castle and collect a magic wand? Ape comes up with his own plan, to get ice cream, but Armadillo thinks it isn't evil enough. Their argument grows until they both explode in anger and Ape runs away. After a little time apart, they reconcile and start a new game and this time Armadillo is a little better at compromise.

Running along the bottom of the main comics are short, silly stories featuring the two characters. Sturm's art is bold and expressive in the main comics and in a lighter palette in the secondary stories. The comic panels alternate between full-page panels and several different arrangements of two or three small panels.

This easy reader is listed as a Level 3, grades 2-3, for advanced beginners. This would be about right since the rapid change from the real world to the imaginary world, the small type and faint illustrations of the running gags below the main story, and the critical thinking skills required will need a more advanced reader to decipher them.

While I do sometimes look for more advanced easy readers, right now and for the foreseeable future I'm focusing on emergent readers. For beginning chapter books, I'm looking for more positive, child-friendly titles. This just struck me as very negative, especially Armadillo's escalation to blowing up the world and Ape's miserable retreat.

Verdict: I know Toon books get strong reviews, but they tend to circulate little, if at all, in my library and definitely not the more complex high-level ones. This isn't one I'd recommend unless you have a strong fan base for Toon books.

ISBN: 9781943145096; Published 2016 by Toon; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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