The Pencil

April 1, 2009

pencilYou may recognize Allan Ahlberg’s name from the 1986 book The Jolly Postman (one of my favorites!), which he worked on with his wife Janet.  His latest book, The Pencil, definitely belongs on Time’s list of Top 10 Children’s Books of 2008.  (Also on the list – Bats at the Library.)

The Pencil is a wonderful book about a pencil that begins to draw.  It begins with a boy and dog.  Soon everything the pencil has drawn wants to be in color, so the pencil draws a paintbrush.  After that the things the pencil has drawn are unhappy with parts of themselves, so the pencil draws an erase.  But, uh-oh, the erase begins to erase everything!  This book is fun, clever, and funny – especially when everything the pencil draws wants to know what its name is.  I highly recommend it.  Not only is the story great but the pictures by Bruce Ingman are fantastic!

Not a Box

March 4, 2008

When I was younger, my sisters and cousins and I made a house out of a refrigerator box. I’m sure you or your kids enjoyed playing with boxes too, much like the rabbit in Not a Box by Antoinette Portis. The box that the rabbit plays with is not a box; it is a rocket ship, a race car, a mountain. With the simple line illustrations, children will be able to distinguish between what the adult sees – the rabbit and box drawn in black – and what the rabbit imagines – the created world drawn in red. The design of the book also cleverly reinforces the concept of cardboard.

Since being published in 2006, Not a Box has been distinguished as an ALA Notable Children’s Book and Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book. Portis currently has a sequel to Not a Box called Not a Stick.

Rating (out of 5): 5