In his effort to combat the profusion of electronic devices as contemporary Christmas gifts, Santa enlists the help of the magic cartooning elf and the brave knight from the first two books in Sturm, Arnold, and Frederick-Frost’s cartooning-for-kids series. The three decide to create a comic book that can be delivered free to good children and at a discounted price to those who have been naughty. Taking a page from the brave knight’s storytelling adventures, the successfully created comic book is delivered by a patient Jewish dragon who “Light[s] the way, Dragon with your BRILLIANT FLAMES! A book for the children, NOT VIDEO GAMES!” (p 47). A plea to children everywhere to create their own comics and send them to Santa at the Center for Cartoon Studies (where the creators are on staff — Sturm — and alum — Arnold and Frederick-Frost) wraps up the fun-filled colourful adventure.
Although there is plenty of encouragement for children to put away their electronic toys and put pencil to paper to create a comic book, there is very little practical advice on how to do this in this volume; this is a book of language and clever ideas, rather than a how-to-draw book. The simple cartoony characters fleshed out with bright primary colours will be encouraging to young fledgling artists, however. This is a pun-filled adventure that demonstrates the fundamental elements of comic books: varying panel sizes and shapes, shifting fonts and speech balloons, and the effective use of white space.
Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special
by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, Alexis Frederick-Frost
First Second, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: 5-10