Adventures in Cartooning Activity Book
written by James Sturm
illustrated by Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost
The sun is sad because no one ever tells him any good stories, so he cries and makes it rain. The Knight is trapped inside the castle because of the rain and he is bored, bored, bored. Luckily, his friend, the Magical Cartooning Elf has the perfect solution—the Knight can DRAW himself an adventure! Along the way, the Knight and the Elf find the Knight’s trusty steed Edward, defeat a Cookie Monster, explore a Giant’s library, fight robots, and—best of all—discover a wonderful story to tell to the sun.
The Center for Cartoon Studies is back teaching kids about how comics work with their follow up to Adventures in Cartooning. The Activity Book is designed to get kids drawing their own comics. Sturm (the founder of The Center for Cartooning Studies) and Arnold and Frederick-Frost (two of the center’s graduates) start off small by encouraging kids to doodle. Then they move onto the elements of comics: panels, movement, motion lines, text bubbles, sound effects, scenery, and more. Starting on page seven and going to page fifty-five, the left hand page has part of the Knight’s story and the right hand page has information about the creative process that goes into making comics as well as space for kids to draw and practice. Then there is a recap before the Activity Book gives kids fourteen pages on which to draw their own comic.
What is great about the Activity Book is that the activities are designed to stimulate children’s imaginations without overwhelming them. They are guided through the creative process, while also enjoying a fun story. Much like the Anti-Coloring Book series by Susan Striker (Holt), they are offered prompts to help them think of what to draw. This makes the Activity Book perfect for kids who are already cartooning, but also perfect for kids who are interested, but aren’t sure where or how to start. Another plus is that the art in the Activity Book is simple and cartoony in style, making it seem attainable. Because the Adventures in Cartooning Activity Book is a consumable title designed to be written and drawn in, it is not a good choice for libraries. But the affordable price makes this a nice choice for art classes and homeschool families and, when combined with the Adventures in Cartooning book and a nice pencil, this would make a terrific present for a young comics fan.