Title: My Life as a Cartoonist
Author: Janice Tashjian
Illustrator: Jake Tashjian
Reviewed by: Nikolas, Grade 4
This book is about a boy named Derek who has a monkey named Frank. Derek likes to draw cartoons. One day at his school, a new kid named Umberto comes. Umberto eggs Derek on to a fight and both boys get detention for a week. At first the boys don't get along, but in detention they have to do a comic strip together in a week or else they get detention extended for another week. They manage to get it in before the deadline, and they also become best friends.
The setting is at Derek's house and it branches off to his mom's vet's office because she is a vet and takes care of animals. It takes place at the school. It also takes place at a dog park where Umberto saves the day and it takes place at the ocean where Derek puts a smile on Umberto's face.
Derek is a confident boy. Even though stuff is hard he gets through it. Derek wants to train his monkey for Umberto but at the end, Umberto says he doesn't really need a monkey in his house. Derek reminds me of Snoopy because Snoopy fights through all sorts of things and gets a little frustrated like Derek. But Snoopy keeps on trying and goes away feeling proud when he succeeds.
There are cartoons in this book that mostly explain what some complicated words mean. Like for the word 'dissipate,' it shows a stick figure with pieces of him coming off of him like a mosaic. I like the illustrations, and once in a while there is a funny cartoon like the one in the beginning of the book. This comic is funny and is part of the story because it shows one of Derek's cartoons. It also gets you interested in the story.
I recommend this book to readers that like to read stuff about someone's life because it teaches you how times can be hard but you just have to fight through it. My favorite part was when Umberto got to get back on the ocean because his first time on the ocean was when he was a baby so I felt good for him that he got to go surfing again. Something surprising was at the end when Derek and Umberto became friends. This book is a series of "My Life" books and there is also My Life as a Book and My Life as a Stunt Boy.
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