cover image Marcus Makes a Movie

Marcus Makes a Movie

Kevin Hart, with Geoff Rodkey, illus. by David Cooper. Crown, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-593-17914-7

All aspiring artist Marcus wants to do is work on his comics series, which features his daring alter ego, Toothpick. Unfortunately, the Afternoon Adventures art class his widower father enrolled him in proves a bad fit for his passion; with no better options, he reluctantly joins a filmmaking class. There, he meets aspiring social influencer Jazmin, music video creator Amari, and would-be writer/director Sierra. Dubious about the program and uninterested in crafting a film from Sierra’s script, Marcus is slowly won over by the idea of filming Toothpick. Though he’s initially intimidated by the amount of work involved in the cinematic creation process, from writing the screenplay to working within a realistic budget, accepting Sierra’s tough-love advice helps him tackle each new obstacle in turn. In this exuberant middle grade debut, comedian Hart and coauthor Rodkey (We’re Not from Here) navigate the complexities of filmmaking, skillfully channeling the craft through the misadventures of Marcus, whose inexperience with the medium and emotional connection to his material prove both creatively hindering and personally cathartic. With its solid comic timing and realistic sense of character and dialogue, this energetic love letter to the artistic process provides both practicality and encouragement. Cooper’s b&w illustrations aptly capture the story’s cued-Black cast. Ages 8–12. [em](June) [/em]