Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Pencil

Ahlberg, Allan. 2008. The Pencil. Bruce Ingman.

Banjo is back. If you haven't read The Runaway Dinner, then you've never met Banjo. (And it's certainly not *essential* that you're familiar with the characters of The Runaway Dinner, but if you are, then some of the characters are back for another adventure.) Allan Ahlberg does weird. And The Pencil is really no different. Here is how it begins,

"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."

Already, I have begun to enjoy this one more that I did The Runaway Dinner. I like the premise at least. It has a Harold and the Purple Crayon vibe going on which I like.

It continues,

"The pencil drew a boy. "What's my name?" Said the boy. "Er....Banjo," said the pencil. "Good," said Banjo. "Draw me a dog."

Soon the pencil draws Bruce (the neighbor dog) and Mildred (the cat), and the drawing continues...a house, a yard, a neighborhood, a park, etc. But soon the characters aren't happy with they're black-and-white life, so the pencil has to think of a solution to add some color to their lives...

Can you come up with a solution? Did you think the pencil should draw a paintbrush? Well, he does. And that's just the beginning.

This is a slightly warped but ever-creative picture book about the drawing, creating, envisioning process.

Overall, I enjoyed this one much much more than the Runaway Dinner. Did I love it? I'm not sure I'd go that far. But I liked it. I still think it takes a special reader to fully appreciate Ahlberg, but this one should definitely be given a chance.

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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