Ariol Volume 4: A Beautiful Cow
Written by: Emmanuel Guibert
Illustrated by: Marc Boutavant
Format: Softcover, 7 x 8, 124 pages, Full Color, $12.99
Sometimes I feel that I should write more about the overseas graphic novel market, for it thrives above and beyond what we might guess its potential to be. Luckily, some publishers are ahead of the game and have already received the memo about the literary potential and notoriety graphic novels enjoy overseas. In the case of the Ariol series – brought to American readers by Papercutz publishers – teachers, librarians, parents and students have one of those overseas graphic novel treasures readily available to them.
First of all, Ariol is a serialized graphic novel. In this month's review I'll focus on Ariol: A Beautiful Cow. Why? Simply put: it is one of the best of the best Ariol graphic novels in the Papercutz collection series so popular in Europe.
In this specific collection of Ariol graphic novel stories Ariol reveals his undying and obvious love for Petula the cow. Only problem: when his love interest in Petula the cow finally turns her attention toward him Ariol finds himself speechless.
A fun and sure-to-generate-conversation-starter, readers of all ages will not only fall in love with Ariol (even if his crush Petula might not), but also want to find out more about Ariol and his friends. Thankfully, Papercutz has an entire collection for all readers (http://www.papercutz.com/comics/ariol/).
English Language Arts Elements of Story
Plots: Ariol's crush has finally started to notice him. Despite his luck, however, Petula the cow makes him speechless and frozen, unable to expressing his undying love and respect for the one he longs for.
Characters: Ariol, Petula, Romano, Shabilly, Bizbilla, Bouncer, Timberworlf, Pharmafluff, Mothbella, Calamity, Fourage, Beaky, Hubbub, Mumbelline, Vanesse, Tracey, Battlemess, Ariol's parents
Settings: Ariol's school and home
Themes: Relationships, Loyalty, Friendship, Passion, Confidence
Reading Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards For Young Adult Readers
Key Ideas and Details*
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.3 Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
* The number referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.commoncore.org)
Lesson Idea for Young Adult Readers:
Directions: Character maps are one of the most popular graphic organizers teachers use to help students better understand the significance of characterization in a story. However, if we think beyond the traditional character map many teachers have found success in teaching relationship circles, thus strongly (and in a new way!) emphasizing the reading standard’s focus on how complex characters develop and interact over time in order to thicken the plot and / or theme.
Below you will find three generic stick figures. As they read ask students to choose three characters from the text and profile how each of them develops and interacts over the course of the story: before, during, and after reading. Finally, ask students to monitor this characterization and growth by drawing and recording their thoughts about three characters of their choice.
Character's Name: _____________________________________________________
Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts ( in press, 2014). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.