Book Review: My Life as a Cartoonist

Written by Janet Tashjian and Illustrated by Jake Tashjian

Reviewed by Daniel Robbins, age 10

    I recently read the book My Life as a Cartoonist. It is the third book in the “My Life as a ...” series, written by Janet Tashjian and illustrated by Jake Tashjian.
    The main character in the book is a sixth-grade boy named Derek. When a new student named Umberto who uses a wheelchair arrives in Derek’s class, he is excited to meet him. Derek’s family is fostering a capuchin monkey named Frank who will be trained to help people with physical disabilities. He wants Frank to help Umberto, but after his first encounter with Umberto it turns out getting help is the last thing on his mind.
    With both boys loving to draw comic strips and cartoons, you’d think that they would become friends. Nothing could be further from the truth!
    When Derek first meets Umberto, he asks how he got to be in his wheelchair. Umberto, offended, insults Derek and gives him a lame nickname: George, like the curious monkey. Umberto soon becomes more and more of a bully toward Derek. He steals Derek’s cartoon ideas and claims them as his own.
    One thing leads to another, and they both wind up in detention. Their punishment is to create a comic strip together. With Umberto being so unkind and Derek getting frustrated and angry, will they be able to complete their assignment on time? Could they form a friendship?
    In this well-written story with funny cartoons on every page, Derek learns how to handle bullies and treat people with respect, even if they aren’t so nice to him.
    I really enjoyed My Life as a Cartoonist, and the other books in the series. If you liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid or the Captain Underpants books, I definitely recommend this series.

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