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
ISBN: 9781596437302
First Second, 2012
Publisher Age Rating: 5-10

  • Gail

    | She/Her Professor, Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta

    Reviewer

    In addition to teaching at the School of Library and Information Studies (University of Alberta) where she is an adjunct professor, Gail tells stories and conducts workshops on a wide variety of topics across Canada and the United States. Each year she teaches the following courses for the University of Alberta. All of her courses are delivered online: Storytelling, Comic Books and Graphic Novels in School and Public Libraries, Canadian Children’s Literature for School and Public Libraries and Young Adult Literature. She also teaches a course on Indigenous Literature for the ATEP program (Aboriginal Teacher Education Program) at the University of Alberta. Gail is the award-winning author of nine books on storytelling and folklore in popular culture.

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