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Adventures in Cartooning - or - "I Want To Read It Again"
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Review by Scott Tingley, May 04, 2009

“I want to read that again” Jake, age 9.

I think I might as well end my review of Adventures in Cartooning: How To Turn Your Doodles Into Comics from the Center for Cartoon Studies right there….

Yup, that's pretty much it for a review. I don't like to directly use my students in reviews like this, but once their words got into my head about this book I don't seem to have any of my own. I do have to add that the book kept my grade three student Jake entertained for an hour on the way to our field trip last week. He saw it on my desk at school and he asked to borrow it. I was glad for the help (one less thing in the never-ending junk pile that is my desk …) so I agreed and he was engrossed for the whole hour, except when he wanted to share this or that. The best moment was when he was reading off a section of the story to me and he paused to say: “Hey, it's a story but I'm learning how to make comics. Neat.”

Neat indeed.

A couple other students got hold of it and had similar reactions.

The kids pointed out a few sequences that stood out for them. Like using three rising panels to show a horse going up a hill and then three descending panels to show that same horse going down a hill. They liked that the story was done with basically stick figures, but that it was really well drawn. They liked that they were discovering how to make comics almost by accident. They wouldn't use these words, but they obviously found this book accessible as eight and nine year olds. So, nice job James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost, the writers and illustrators of this new grade three favourite.

Once upon a time . . . a princess tried to make a comic.  And with the help of a magical cartooning elf, she learned how – well enough to draw her way out of an encounter with a dangerous dragon, near-death by drowning, and into her very own adventure!  Like the princess, young readers will discover that they already have the drawing and writing skills it takes to make a comic – they just need a little know-how.  And Adventures in Cartooning supplies just that . (from Macmillan.com)

I was talking to someone recently about using comics in the classroom and she asked if they were a good way to trick kids into learning. It was meant as a positive comment about comics, but my response was that kids are too smart to be tricked into learning. I think that all kids want to learn but they want to learn in a way that interests them. This is a book that will be of interest to kids because it is funny and unusual and that will allow them to be completely open to learning what the book is offering.

Nicely done.

Published by First Second
March 2009
Grade Range : 1 to 5
Age Range: 6 to 10
ISBN: 978-1-59643-369-4
ISBN-10: 1-59643-369-8



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