FYI: I have some not fort his book images becaue I can and I like them! If Animal Farm and A Tale of Two Cities created a book together, the graphic novel Sengi and Tembo by G. Falco (or Giuseppe Falco) probably would be the results. Rebellion, status quo, life, and the ultimate equalizer death all come together in a dark, somewhat comedic commentary on not only how things should be but can become.
Sengi is a young mouse that quickly learns the dangers of the world. Life is hard, mothers are eaten by lizards, big dumb giants flop in the middle of your path and dung beetles attached to their poop balls can fly through the air spattering you in, well, poop ball stuff.
Tembo is an old elephant who has decided his time to die has come. Lumbering off to a place of his ancestors, he cares little about what is in his way. A mouses path? Just another place to rest. A dung beetle pushing a poop ball? A mild annoyance at best.
It is not until the predators are convinced that the prey has lost their minds and have gone crazy, infecting the way things should be (mice are eaten, dung beetles push poop balls, elephants die so hyenas and vultures (and yes they reminded me of Disney and Ice Age. Plus, I have a soft spot for those adorable critters) can feast), that war is declared. Lines are drawn, sides taken, and the battle of life and death unfolds. Yet, the results might not be what either side expected.
The illustrations are dark, physical and with how they represent the text. The text also is dark. This is not a happy story, even with a possibly hopeful ending. I am not sure of any child that would get the deeper meaning of things (the rebellion of not just being, but trying to live, and to buck the system) but they could enjoy the story of a mouse and elephant who become friends. Due to the theme of death and Tembo is attacked by the hyenas and lions’ multiple times, and Sengi fights the lizard causing damage to the eye of the creature, a sensitive reader might not be the best audience. Ages 8 to 10 could do it but know your reader. Therefore, I would say at least 10 to 14 and adults might be the best audience.