Four friends embark on an unexpected adventure when a mural they are painting comes to life.
Ross, aka street artist “Scribe,” introduces readers to a quartet of animals: reporter-in-training Phlox Prairie, a prairie dog; her twin brother, Phil; Rumpus Horn, a rhino; and Tai Bengali, a tiger. When Rumpus’ grandfather, owner of a plumbing supply shop, offers the three young artists—Rumpus, Tai, and Phil—the canvas of a blank wall on which to create a mural, he asks that the theme revolve around the “Wild West.” Using Grandpa Duncan’s glowing paint, the three artists paint (with spray can and paintbrush) with great energy if not great cohesion. Once the mural is complete, the group discovers they can slip into the painting—which takes the squad to an Old West their artistic talent and imagination conceived. Despite the quick beginning and creative concept, the story falls flat. Dialogue takes precedence over the narrative, and character development is virtually nonexistent in this story that introduces over a dozen characters with small roles only to forget them pages later. Inspired by street art, the book is generous with colorful, dynamic images, offering readers panoramic Old West scenes and expressive close-ups of the several self-proclaimed “weird” characters in the book. Backmatter includes information on white outlaws and Western landscape, flora, and fauna.
Skip. (Animal fantasy. 8-12)