Recently, I tried the bookmaking feature at one of my favourite online spaces, ToonDoo. I often use ToonDoo to make a quick illustration for a blog post, and told you about it in Sharing Stories Using Online Editors. I love it because it allows we artistically-challenged people to make a neat cartoon by providing art work for us to choose from. And it's a great place for kids to experiment with creating stories.
There are several online places where we can make cartoons. Most involve an editor that allows you to choose backgrounds and characters, then add dialogue in speech bubbles. ToonDoo is similar, but I think it has the greatest range of choices in the galleries, and it has so many extra tools, like TraitR, DoodlR, ImagineR and the Book Maker. I also like the way the site admin has good support in the form of a wiki, and they try hard to keep inappropriate material out of the site, so it can be "a safe and fun place for people of all ages."
The ToonDoo Book Maker uses individual cartoons you've made and combines them. You need to either have individual, differently themed cartoons you want to combine into an anthology, or individual cartoons you've planned in sequence which make a whole story when put together. Cartoons can be single frame or more.
I decided to create single cartoon frames on purpose for this book project, and to sequence them into a story. I settled on a simple story line with which most kids will be familiar - one character searching for another. I made five quick single page cartoons. First I looked for and chose a character that had multiple poses, so it wasn't the same static figure in each frame. Then I chose different backgrounds, added characters for my Boffo to meet, and added speech bubbles and dialogue. Once I'd saved each cartoon, I opened the Book Maker widget which offered me all the cartoons I'd made. I scrolled through to find the five, dragged them one by one and dropped them onto the widget screen, then published my book with a title, Where's Tiny.
Hopefully, the book will be embedded below, or you can link to see it at the TooDoo site.
This is an excellent way for kids to practise sequencing. They could use ToonDoo Book Maker to retell a story they are familiar with like The Three Pigs, or a folk tale, or a favourite rhyme like Humpty Dumpty. Older kids might like to think of things that are important to them, things they believe in, and create illustrations/cartoons to communicate them to an audience.
I am really impressed with ToonDoo. The free part of the site is very generous. ToonDoo Spaces is the paid part of the site, and is ideal for teachers or parents who need more security and the ability to moderate. I have just enrolled in their free trial, and will have an article about it for you next week.