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

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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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Fans won’t want to miss the boat on this one.

NOODLEHEADS FIND SOMETHING FISHY

The macaroni noodle duo returns for their third adventure—fishing!

Upon finding a discarded “fish stick” (aka fishing pole), noodleheads Mac and Mac decide to bring it home. Unfortunately, the “stick” can’t fit between two trees on either side of the path when carried horizontally, so one of the siblings breaks it in two. The pair’s bright outlook leads them to think they can now catch twice as many fish, but, clearly, they have much to learn about fishing. So the next day, the pasta pals head to water to try out the sport. After the duplicitous Meatball tricks the two out of their lunches (and one of their coins), the noodleheads doze off, wake from their nap to find a boat, and board it. But the boat doesn’t move very far because the anchor line is too short. And, alas, the “biggest fish ever, ever, ever” takes their bait and swims away. As with other titles in the series, the two don’t quite achieve their goal, but they do come away with some valuable lessons. Readers will come away with plenty of laughs. The introduction and three short chapters are filled with brightly colored comics panels in Arnold’s signature art style, inviting in newly emergent readers and fans of Fly Guy alike. As always, the authors’ notes explain the origins behind each folktale-inspired scenario.

Fans won’t want to miss the boat on this one. (Graphic early reader. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-3937-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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