Adventure Duck vs The Armadillo Army by Steve Cole and Aleksei Bitskoff

The Blurb On The Back:

The battle is on – duck for cover!

Adventure Duck’s arch nemesis, Power Pug, is back with a sickly-sweet plan for world domination.  With an armadillo army under his command, the evil pug is digging up the rainforest to build a giant chocolate factory!  Can a new llama sidekick help Adventure Duck win the war?  Because defeat means only one thing …

Death by chocolate!

You can order Adventure Duck vs The Armadillo Army by Steve Cole and Aleksei Bitskoff from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Waterstone’s or Bookshop.org UK.  I earn commission on any purchases made through these links.  

The Review (Cut For Spoilers):

It’s several weeks after ADVENTURE DUCK VS POWER PUG.  Adventure Duck (aka AD) and his sidekick/best friend Neon Zebra (aka Ziggy) are training to hone their respective super powers when Yoki (the mystical egg who advises and assists them in battling evil super villains) tells them that a new animal with superpowers has emerged in Mexico, where it’s using them to smash up the rainforest and chocolate stores.

AD and Ziggy fly out there and discover the fearsome Armando the Commando – a supersized armadillo with armoured skin and fearsome strength and leader of an army of regular-sized armadillos willing to do its bidding.  Armando is the most fearsome villain AD and Ziggy have met since Apocalypse Moo and for once they might be out of their depth, but fortunately they have help from a super-powered llama called Lola (aka Senorita Spitfire) who has super powered spit and incredibly soft fur.  Together they need to work out why Armando is so intent on destruction and why his eyes glow a disturbing shade of green …?

The second in Steve Cole and Aleksei Bitskoff’s humorous illustrated series for children aged 6+ is another zany and silly tale filled with bad puns, some funny toilet jokes and a megalomaniac pug intent on world domination.  I liked the switch in focus to Ziggy and AD’s friendship and Bitskoff’s illustrations add energy to the text but the story here is remarkably similar to the first book, so it did feel a little repetitive.

AD remains a vain and self-absorbed duck, which I enjoyed but I liked the way his friendship with Ziggy has developed with Cole giving the pair some sparky banter and a mutual love of trying to get one over on each other.  There are some truly groan-worthy puns in the text (which the target audience will no doubt love) but I do admit to sniggering at a well executed toilet joke and for adults, Cole has a lot of fun with Yoki’s deliberate mysticism.  Seniorita Spitfire is a welcome addition, especially as her super power is so disgusting and her attempts to apologise for messing up made me smile.

Bitskoff’s illustrations are energetic and fun and bring a lot to the characters (my favourites being the ones where AD is looking disgruntled) and the publishers have worked hard on making the text design lively, giving it a cartoonish air in places, which will help retain wandering attention.

I welcomed the return of the evil Power Pug, whose hideous plans truly know no limit.  However, while there was a variation to his scheme this time around the methodology played out exactly the same as the first book, which made for a repetitive experience.  I’m hoping that this isn’t going to be a feature of the series because I think there’s a risk of it getting very old very quickly and I can see younger readers getting bored with it.  That said, I did like Armando the Commando (because who doesn’t love an evil and invincible armadillo?) and a scene where AD and Ziggy take on the armadillo army had a lot of drama and high stakes.

Repetition aside, there’s a lot of fun to be had with this book and it remains a promising and entertaining series such that I’d happily tune into the next instalment.   

ADVENTURE DUCK VS THE ARMADILLO ARMY was released in the United Kingdom on 8th August 2019.  Thanks to the Amazon Vine Programme for the review copy of this book.

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