The author says:
This is… dull.
Not that a programming primer is supposed to be whiz-bang exciting, but “clean and straightforward” doesn’t mean that it needs to be dull. Take a look at the other programmings books on Amazon, and take note of the common factors:
- clear, solid type
- a simple but pleasant color scheme
- explanatory subtitles
- a simple central image
I think the idea of the cartoon is fine (the art, as you note, isn’t professional-grade), provided that there are some lighthearted moments of wit in the book — if it’s entirely dry-as-toast, then including the cartoon on the cover is false advertising.