cover image Thunder Horse

Thunder Horse

Emmanuel Guibert, illus. by Marc Boutavant. Papercutz (Macmillan, dist.), $12.99 paper (124p) ISBN 978-1-59707-412-4

The everyday adventures of Ariol the donkey continue in this companion to Just a Donkey Like You and Me. Readers needn’t be familiar with that book to enjoy this one—between the character list on the front flap and the episodic nature of the 12 stories, they’ll have no trouble diving into the world of this blue, bespectacled, school-age donkey. Boutavant’s (For Just One Day) anthropomorphic animals resemble a cross between the work of Richard Scarry and Hergé, and both he and Guibert (The Photographer) clearly convey the characters’ very human emotions, preoccupations, and eccentricities. For his part, Ariol is single-minded, a tad selfish, and often hilariously oblivious (in the final story, he reads intently at the bookstore, entirely unaware that the owner, Mr. Begossian, has fallen off a ladder and needs help). Nearly every story ends with a zinger (after Ariol and his buddy Ramono make fun of their new teachers over several pages, readers discover in the final panel that the grim-looking instructors have overheard the entire exchange), but the misunderstandings, slapstick gags, and repartee maintain the fun throughout. Ages 7–10. (June)■