By Kevin Hodgson
BEST EDITORIAL CARTOONS OF THE YEAR is a collection of, well, some of the best political and editorial jabs of the past year, and as you might expect, there are very few sacred cows left unscathed by the creative pens of these artists. Ranging from topics of presidential politics (President Obama gets skewered left and right here, mostly from the right) to the emergence of the Tea Party to education, the courts and the environment, this collection that is edited by Charles Brooks and put out by Pelican Publishing is interesting and thoughtful. Most of these editorial cartoons were published in daily newspapers, and while there is a dated quality to many of them (current events being not so current anymore), I love how the voice of the cartoonist comes across loud and clear. There’s no murky middle ground in these frames.
IN THE CLASSROOM
For any high school journalism class, BEST EDITORIAL CARTOONS OF THE YEAR should be an annual reference guide to how to get a point across with art and limited text. The concise nature of editorial cartoons makes for some great lessons around writing, and the partnership of art with words. Students might also ponder why some topics were included in the book and what topics might have been left out (the slow demise of newspapers, anyone?). It is helpful that each section comes with a short narrative introduction, giving a bird’s eye view of the topic before the cartoonists have their way with the subjects.
Another ripe topic for discussion is political point of view and fairness in editorials. (ie, Does President Obama get a fair shake in this book? I don’t think so, but I suppose no president escapes the wrath of editorial cartoonists).
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
I would highly recommend this book for any high school civics or journalism classroom. The content would likely go over the heads of most elementary and middle school students. There is nothing inappropriate in here, unless you are sensitive to political satire.