The Pencil – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Today’s book is one of those you’ll have no problem reading again and again to your class, and it will always spark some great creative activity as a result.

The Pencil 

Written by Alan Ahlberg, Illustrated by Bruce Ingman

Published by Candlewick, Aug. 12th, 2008

Ages: 3+

Hardcover: 48 Pages

Themes: Drawing, storytelling, creativity

First Lines/synopsis: Once there was a pencil, a lonely little pencil and nothing else. It lay there, which was nowhere in particular, for a long, long time. Then one day that little pencil made a move, shivered slightly, quivered somewhat…… and began to draw.

The Pencil drew a boy. “What’s my name?” said the boy. “Er…. Banjo.” said the pencil. “Good,” said Banjo, “draw me a dog.”

Aren’t you utterly intrigued already? Once there was a pencil, who loved to draw. He sketches wonderful things – a boy and a dog, a cat for the dog to chase, a house, a family for the little boy and even an entire town. He even draws a paintbrush to make his drawings come alive with color. Is everyone happy? No! The pencil is overrun with complaints and must draw an eraser to clean things up.

The eraser starts rubbing things out and everyone appears satisfied. But just as the pencil had gotten carried away, the eraser gets a little too excited and starts erasing all sorts of extra things. Oops! The house and town disappear. The pencil must quickly come up with a plan to stop this eraser and save his own lead.

Why I like this Book: This book reminds me a little of the classic, Harold and the Purple Crayon. The combination of humorous text, quirky drawn out writing style, clever illustrations and clever creativity all point to a story which will appeal to a wide range of children. It’s a fun read that will have readers rushing through the pages to find out who/what will prevail. Whimsical illustrations and a quick wit make this a real winner. It will open up a child’s concept of creating a story, and even the most reluctant storytellers, will have something to say.

Activities/Resources: There won’t be many children who will not automatically want to create a story after reading this book. This could be in written, oral or pictorial format! I think the follow-up storytelling could also be done in pairs or small groups with children responding to each others’ pictures.

To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.  Or click on the Perfect Picture Book Fridays  badge in the right sidebar.

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26 Responses to The Pencil – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. Ooh, I’ve had this in my cart for awhile unsure if my boys were ready for it. I don’t think they are, but I am! I LOVE LOVE LOVE that opening. If the rest of the text is like that, this is a clear example of an author writing for both parent and child. So witty!

    “Banjo.” HA!

  2. Tina Cho says:

    I wish I had an automatic pencil that could write incredible stories for me! Sounds like a fun story. Thanks for telling us about it!

  3. Linda Boyden says:

    And I wish I had a magic pencil that did the hard perspective part of the art work. Thanks for sharing, Joanna. Sounds like a necessary addition to an art teacher’s bag of tricks.

  4. LOL… now we will all be wishing we had a pencil like this one. I loved it right away from the first line. I could see eraser would be brought in and I will be one of those racing through the pages to see how things work out in the end. Great choice Joanna! Very clever!

  5. Lori Mozdzierz says:

    Creative genius! Can see this being animated for TV/apps. Thanks, Joanna 😀

  6. Carrie F says:

    This story sounds wonderful! I’ll have to look for this one. We have another book by him, Treasure Hunt, that my kids have really enjoyed.

  7. Awesome! I like the idea of it. It reminds me of a SpongeBob episode. 😉

  8. I knew pencils were magic! That’s probably why I use a pencil holder when they’re close to the end and then I can’t bring myself to throw away the stub. I think I need to get this book. Maybe I need some attachment therapy. Thanks for sharing this fun sounding book.

  9. Amy Dixon says:

    Haven’t heard of this one before, Joanna! Thanks so much for sharing it, can’t wait to learn more about the adventures of Mr. Pencil!

  10. This book sounds delightful, Joanna! I’m a big fan of Harold And The Purple Crayon, and this certainly hearkens to that. I will have to hunt this one down and read it! Thanks so much for adding it to our list. I love books that encourage kids to be creative! 🙂

  11. This is a very unique book and find. Have never heard of it before. It sounds fun and witty and you want to know who wins. So creative. Nice choice.

  12. Yes, I thought of Harold and the Purple Crayon immediately! Thanks so much, Joanna…lovely story and great review! I agree that kids would rush to grab their pencils and start writing. 😉

  13. This sounds modern and fantastic and so creative. Thanks a lot for sharing, Joanna.

  14. Barbara says:

    This book sounds so different and fun! I’m pinning it. Can hardly way to get my own copy. Thanks.

    Grade ONEderful
    Ruby Slippers

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