A cursory if cheery guide.

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GARFIELD'S ® GUIDE TO CREATING YOUR OWN COMIC STRIP

The original grumpy cat imparts comics-making advice.

Garfield, the perpetually snarky, Monday-hating marmalade cat, explains the basics of drawing a strip to young readers. In four chapters, he presents a rudimentary overview of the process, including tips on main characters, expression, plot development, punchlines, building settings, and lettering. While the text is upbeat, Garfield’s trademark irreverence is showcased through reprinted comic strips and sidebar illustrations; when explaining essential setting details, king-of-the-catnap Garfield wisecracks that “chairs [and] beds” are “essential details.” Finnegan’s guide is best suited for the earliest beginner, as it offers such obvious instructions as, “the first thing you need is a pencil to draw with”; those looking for more comprehensive information may be audibly groaning at the lack of depth. For burgeoning artists hoping to learn to draw the lovably irascible feline, expect potential upset when they discover the only instructions show how to draw his head—not his entire body—and with five brief steps, it is superficial at best (though still more detailed than the instructions for Odie). Included is a five-term glossary, a section for further information (which, curiously, offers Garfield’s Twitter account as a place of interest), and an index. Cavils aside, Garfield’s iconic brand of humor is effectively captured, which may satisfy Davis’ devotees if not those looking to get a foothold in creating art.

A cursory if cheery guide. (index) (Nonfiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5415-7468-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lerner

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A patchy production, visually absorbing at its best but hampered by a banal and unsystematic text.

WALK THIS WILD WORLD

Wild animals by the score pose in plain sight or hide beneath die-cut flaps in 12 natural habitats around the world.

Designed as a companion for Jenny Broom’s city tour Walk This World, illustrated by Lotta Nieminen (2013), Brewster’s gallery of broad land- and seascapes is free of human figures but teems with distinctive flora and fauna. His figures are occasionally stylized, but he depicts them with reasonable accuracy and shows them in natural, though seldom active poses. Baker’s narrative is likewise a bit stodgy. She gives each locale a rhyming overview, muffing the final one slightly: “The shifting sands of the Australian desert / shimmer in the searing heat / and hidden far beneath the dunes / nocturnal creatures safely sleep.” In addition, she offers perfunctory observations about one to four animals (or, rarely, plants) that are revealed by peeling up the small rectangular flaps on each free page: “The rare Asian arowana or ‘dragon fish’ swims in the deep pools”; “The ibis uses its long curved bill to search for food”; etc. A map at the end retraces the overall route and provides a general sense of each scene’s location. Even though some creatures are very small or too dimly lit to make out, and many others are unidentified, at least the art will give animal lovers plenty to pore over.

A patchy production, visually absorbing at its best but hampered by a banal and unsystematic text. (Informational pop-up picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: May 22, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78370-541-2

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Big Picture/Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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A welcome addition to any collection of folk tales.

VIETNAMESE CHILDREN'S FAVORITE STORIES

While publishers in recent years have paid some attention to Asian folk tales, there has been a paucity of stories from Vietnam. This collection of 15 tales will fill the gap.

This Vietnamese-American storyteller’s tales are a mix of variations on familiar tales and tropes, cultural pourquoi stories and legends. Familiar folk-tale elements can be seen in many, such as “The Legend of the Mosquito,” “Why Ducks Sleep on One Leg,” “Why the Sea is Salty” and a "Cinderella" variant, “The Story of Tam and Cam.” Others are rooted in Vietnam. “Da Trang and the Magic Pearl” offers an explanation for the scuttling of crabs on the beach; “The Legend of Banh Chung and Banh Day” reveals the origins of the traditional foods of Tet; “Why One Shouldn’t Sweep the House on Tet Nguyen Dan” explains another Tet tradition. An introduction explains the significance of several key elements in Vietnamese tales. A publisher’s note at the beginning describes its mission: to provide books that connect East and West. Attractive watercolor illustrations by two Vietnamese artists are scattered throughout, and the appealing cover should invite readers.

A welcome addition to any collection of folk tales. (Folk tales. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8048-4429-1

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Tuttle

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2015

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