Comics: Easy as ABC!: The Essential Guide to Comics for Kids

Comics: Easy as ABC!: The Essential Guide to Comics for Kids
by Ivan Brunetti; illus. by the author and various artists
Intermediate    TOON    56 pp.
4/19    978-1-943145-44-7    $16.95
Paper ed.  978-1-943145-39-3    $9.99

Brunetti, comics educator and cartoonist of TOON titles Wordplay and 3x4, offers a noteworthy and intriguing comics how-to for kids (as well as for parents, teachers, and librarians). Brunetti's encouraging text ("There is not one right way to draw — the fun is finding your own way") and approachable illustrations serve as the book's primary content, while frequent sidebars and asides by well-known cartoonists — including Elise Gravel, Art Spiegelman, Liniers, and Roz Chast — add variety, interest, and information. An initial focus on drawing characters (faces, emotions, profiles, body language, animals, etc.) gradually shifts to a survey of broader comics fundamentals (comics language, balloons, lettering, pages and panels, etc.). Some really great tips — such as placing characters' eyes lower on their faces to make them look younger or writing out a character's words before drawing a speech balloon — can immediately be incorporated into anyone's cartooning repertoire. More nuanced concepts, such as story rhythm and finding one's artistic voice, are mentioned only briefly. Nonetheless, this slim guide is unique in its support of both novice and experienced cartoonists. Substantial back matter comprises adult-centered tips for reading comics with kids, brief contributor biographies, an index, further resources, and a selected bibliography.

From the September/October 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Patrick Gall
Patrick Gall works as a librarian for children in preschool through eighth grade at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago.

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