Wrapped up with some drawing paper and pens, this clever Christmas cartoon construction might spark some creative projects.

ADVENTURES IN CARTOONING

CHRISTMAS SPECIAL

This lightweight, mildly humorous story about Santa, his favorite elf and a Christmas knight advises kids to draw their own comic strips, though no practical help is offered in drawing instruction.

Santa and his Magical Cartooning Elf decide to create a Christmas comic book for distribution to children on Christmas Eve. They are assisted by a knight who has assorted adventures with a yeti, some giant children and a dragon who is pressed into service to deliver the completed comic books. On Christmas morning, children around the world are inspired to start making their own comics. Young readers are encouraged to send their original comics showing favorite things, places or foods to the Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont, presumably for the next installment in the series. The rhyming text is a bit singsong, with some corny puns and some funny asides, but it also uses a hip, self-deprecating tone and current computer terms that let kids know the authors are up on the latest. The cartoon illustrations use varying panel layouts with hand-lettered speech balloons and backgrounds in cool green to set off the holiday reds.

Wrapped up with some drawing paper and pens, this clever Christmas cartoon construction might spark some creative projects. (Graphic picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59643-730-2

Page Count: 67

Publisher: First Second/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Aug. 15, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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Very old, very funny stories made evergreen thanks to the graphic format and inventive casting.

NOODLEHEADS FORTRESS OF DOOM

From the Noodleheads series , Vol. 4

Back for the fourth time, the pasta-headed duo keeps up the fun with their literal way of thinking.

In an introduction, the pair visits the library and borrows some books. The brothers admit that they don’t understand the joke in one of their books: “What is the tallest building in the world?” The answer: “The library. It has the most stories!” Young readers of this three-chapter graphic novel will pride themselves on being smarter than Mac and Mac. They will “get it.” They’ll chuckle when one Mac is left to guard the door of the “Fortress of Doom” they just built while the other Mac goes to get something to eat. When one brother returns, he finds the other brother far from the fortress—but not the door. Fascinating information on tale types and folklore motifs used in each chapter is found in the authors’ notes, and adults can point these out and find other examples of tales about people doing foolish things. The last chapter features a “lying contest” with old frenemy Meatball, who tells a tall tale. A generous font, amusing comic-book–style artwork, the stories themselves, and excellent notes add up to a book that can be thoroughly enjoyed by one child or easily acted out in a readers’ theater activity.

Very old, very funny stories made evergreen thanks to the graphic format and inventive casting. (Graphic early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4001-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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Simple and practical, although the visuals underperform.

EGG DECORATING

THE 18 ESSENTIAL DESIGNS & TECHNIQUES EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW!

From the Show-How Guides series

A basic guide to the “FUN-damentals” of egg crafts.

A cheerful blue egg (who is ungendered) sporting a half apron and an artsy beret breaks down a method for hard-boiling eggs with an adult’s help, then goes on to guide readers through the steps for executing increasingly elaborate egg decorating projects. Children will learn how to make dyes from food coloring or fruits and vegetables and how to achieve various decorative effects, including “egg people” designs and animal designs (the “egg chick” concept seems a bit meta). The book also provides suggestions for displaying decorated eggs, using them in games, and, yes, turning them into tasty treats. Materials used range from acrylic paint and googly eyes to onion skins and glow-in-the-dark glue. The written instructions are simple and concise. They frequently begin with “lay newspaper over your workspace” (good advice!) and include important safety notes. Zoo’s diagrammatic illustrations are easy to follow with numbered directions, spot art laid out in panels, and labeled, graphic overviews of required supplies; however, the minimal palette of black, white, and blue fails to give young handicrafters enough sense of the art form’s creative possibilities. Readers may want to keep a more visually stimulating handbook, like Lindstrom’s Beautiful Eggs (2021), handy on the worktable for inspiration.

Simple and practical, although the visuals underperform. (Nonfiction. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78436-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Odd Dot

Review Posted Online: Dec. 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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