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Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special by James Sturm
Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
Amulet 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi
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Arthur's Nose by Marc Brown
Bad Kitty Meets the Baby by Nick Bruel
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Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
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Emily the Strange: Lost Days by Rob Reger
Everything on a Waffle (audio) by Polly Horvath
Fairest by Gail Carson Levine
Food, Girls and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff
Fullmetal Alchemist 17 by Hiromu Arakawa
I'm Going to Grandma's by Mary Ann Hoberman
Maggie's Monkeys by Linda Sanders-Wells
Mooshka, A Quilt Story by Julie Paschkis
My Brother Charlie by Holly Robinson Peete
The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear and illustrated by Anne Mortimer
Soul Eater 01 by Atsushi Ohkubo
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Spork by Kyo Maclear
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle 03 by CLAMP
Twin Spica 06 by Kou Yaginuma
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xxxHolic 10 by CLAMP

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Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special: 07/13/12

cover art

Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special by James Sturm is the follow up to Adventures in Cartooning: How to Turn Your Doodles into Comics. This time, the knight (princess) is called into duty to help Santa save Christmas in a time when children are more interested in apps, videos and other electronic forms of entertainment.

The book opens with Santa up in arms over the closure of his workshop. The elves have given up woodworking for app development. They're making flash games at the North Pole. The knight has a solution — self publishing! Cough cough. No really — a self published comic book.

Just as the previous book was about a knight on a mission with a trusty horse and an instructional manual on how to draw a comic book with the basic doodling skills any kid has, this one has some further advice about drawing comics, along with (perhaps unintentional) advice on self publishing.

The two big messages here, I think, are homemade presents still rock and printed books still have their place. But the message seems to get garbled — especially as an eGalley. Santa laments all these electronic doodads getting in the way but the review copy is in electronic form, DRMed and with an expiration date. Ironic, no?

And then there's the whole Christmas thing. With Santa in the mix, we learn that the dragon in the previous book is Jewish (from the menorah). Reluctantly though, the dragon plays along. Now I'm all for homemade gifts, comic books and self publishing, but presented as a Christmas story — then all the focus goes from the best features of the book (creativity in so many forms) to being yet another story about saving Christmas.

Three stars

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