Aldo Zelnick is the star of this new comic novel series for children. Ten-year-old Aldo lives with his family in Colorado. He’s not athletic like his older brother, he’s not a rock hound like his best friend, but he does like bacon. And when his artist grandmother, Goosy, gives him a sketchbook to “record all his artsy-fartsy ideas” during summer vacation, it turns out Aldo is a pretty good cartoonist. In addition to an engaging cartoon story, Artsy-Fartsy includes an illustrated glossary of fun A words used throughout the book, such as absurd, abominable, and audacious.

Ease of use for a book? Well – our parents were concerned with just how they were going to handle this category…What they weren’t quite ready for was how easy this was going to be to get their children to read! In some ways, Artsy-Fartsy is similar in style to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series – and maybe the groundbreaking style in which that series was written helps make this a welcome read for kids. The drawings, the notes, the scribbles – it all is natural for children to read these days. Can a book score well in ease of use? This one just did!

Our team evaluated the hard cover version – and there was only one cause for concern in this category: that their kids were going to read it so much that the pages fall out! No worries at all!

Five stars is just not enough! From the front cover to the pages to the glossary, Artsy-Fartsy is loaded with visual appeal! The sketches and drawings work seamlessly with the story. And without ruining any of the story, our girls just loved when a little girl finds Aldo’s sketch book and takes over!

Under normal circumstances we would give a big “n/a” for functionality – but our Moms and Dads were thrilled to give stars here because the glossary is really filled with big “a” words. Nothing makes our Moms and Dads happier than when their children were sharing the meanings of some of their new favorite words. Who knew an 8 year old would remember what “apoplectic” meant?!

In a blind survey our parents priced Artsy-Fartsy right around $10. Now, on further discussion just about all of our parents that low-balled the price did recognize that most hard-cover kids books these days do cost closer to $15, they would just appreciate if the pricing was a little lower….sounds like typical Moms and Dads!

The comparisons to Diary of a Wimpy Kid were common among our reviewers. Keep in mind though, that we don’t think that is a bad thing at all! We love the Wimpy Kid series and if our kids and parents put this book in the same category as that, they are giving this Artsy-Fartsy quite a compliment!

Overall our Moms and Dads, but even more importantly their kids, just loved Aldo Zelnick and Artsy-Fartsy! It’s absolutely adorable, fun to read, and super cute to look at. The story is compelling, the style is eye-popping and our review team all ended with the same question: “When is the next Aldo Zelnick book coming out!?”

Manufacturer: Bailiwick Press
Recommended Age: 7 - 13 years
Retail Price: $12.95
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