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Review: Adventures in Cartooning Activity Book

Adventures in Cartooning Activity Book
Sturm, James. Arnold, Andrew, and Frederick-Frost, Alexis
Ages 7-13
First Second, 2010, 978-1-59643-598-8
$7.99, 76 pp.

Need a last minute stocking stuffer or a (very) belated Chanukkah gift?  Then this is the perfect gift for the kid who wants to draw their own comic books.  Sturm and his crew expand on their very successful Adventures in Cartooning, by offering an activity book.
Keeping with their successful story format the authors and artists bring back familiar characters; Elf, the Knight and Edward too.  The Knight is quite bored when the rain forcing him to cancel his play date and also knocks out the cable.  His video games were confiscated and it’s up to Elf to convince him to go “low tech.” Drawing/Cartooning can offer loads of fun.
The story stops at different moments to allow the reader to add drawings to different parts of the story. Like when the Knight and Elf are in search of Edward, readers have an opportunity to add Edward to the dining room table, the one spot Knight hasn’t searched.
This isn’t a step-by-step how to draw… (fill in the blank depending on what you want to learn how to draw), but this book covers more conceptual ideas. For instance, readers learn that they can take one form, like the form of a horse (Edward) and turn it into something else.  A zebra, unicorn, or sheep.  Readers learn how to fill in thought bubbles or how to use pictures to imitate sound effects.
Don’t despair, because the last 15 pages or so are blank panels for readers to create their own story in both picture and words.  Blank panels allow for readers to do their own thing and stretch their imagination.
This is a must, for anyone who liked the original Adventures in Cartooning.  And at $7.99 for a pbk copy, it really won’t break the bank.
By the way, librarians concerned about adding this to their collection as I was, have a little gift from the artist – Alexis Frederick-Frost. He added a little cartoon that reminds library patrons to use blank paper or a sketch book instead of the book so other users can enjoy the library copy as well.

Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. Her collection is also the model for all middle school libraries in NYC. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library, and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 3 and regularly reviews for SLJ, LMC. In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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