An unlikely pair of pals engages in creative plans that exercise their imaginations and test their friendship.
Armadillo is a feisty fellow with big ideas and a big ego. His best friend, Ape, is huge in stature and more thoughtful and compassionate than his smaller friend. Their story is told in graphic-novel format, with the main plot unfolding in comic-strip panels on the top three-quarters of the pages, complemented by a secondary, episodic story running along the bottoms of the pages. The secondary story is inventive and humorous, giving insight into both characters and setting up their imaginative flights of fancy. The main story begins when Ape refuses to play along with the duo’s previously conceived “evil plan” to capture a castle and take over the world. This plan has Ape doing all the dirty work and Armadillo serving as king. When Ape withdraws from the fantasy and goes off to sit in a tree, Armadillo must think up a new fantasy plot with some accommodations for Ape’s wishes. The pair interacts with humans in several scenes, with the cast of characters including different ages and ethnicities. The cartoon illustrations include lots of motion and emotion as well, with Ape’s kinder nature shining through and Armadillo’s learning curve as a friend emerging in a subtle and satisfying way. The text perfectly captures the wildly creative narrative spirit in the play of imaginative children, who are not bound by logical rules and physical limitations.
Ape and Armadillo might not have conquered the world in this outing, but they should win plenty of fans who will want to read more about this dynamic duo. (Graphic early reader. 5-10)