Most helpful positive review
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
An absolute cracker for 2-6s.
on 20 March 2009
This is a fantastic picture book in which a lonely pencil begins to draw, draws several characters (a boy, Banjo, a dog and a cat all of whom you might recognise from The Runaway Dinner) and a town. Up until this point, the illustrations are black and white as if drawn only by a heavy pencil. The pencil then draws a paintbrush and from here on the illustrations then include bold bright colours.
The pencil, fulfilling the requests of the characters he has created, works with the paintbrush to fill out the whole town, but trouble begins to brew when some of the drawings have not come out quite perfect - ears too big, ridiculous trainers etc. So the pencil draws a rubber which sets to work correcting things. At first, the rubber is helpful but he becomes increasingly naughty, with wholesale deletion of people, scenes and even the paintbrush until all that is left is the rubber and the pencil....
If you are 4, it's worrying for a few pages as the pencil tries to escape, trying various ways to evade the destructive eraser. Fortunately, he then comes up with a clever plan, the world is restored and there's a heart-warming ending.
The pictures are warm, friendly and fun. They are bursting with life and energy throughout, and have a slightly unfinished feel which is particularly in keeping with the narrative. There's also light humour in both the words and the pictures - for example, my son (4) laughs when the chair is erased from underneath Banjo, and welove little ant Allan.
This is not the first picture book I have come across where a pencil's activities are integral to the story (other great ones include Piggot: Gregory and the Magic Line and Browne: Bear Hunt) but it is an inspired and amusing take on this good premise and I thoroughly recommend it. I think this the third book that Ahlberg and Ingman have collaborated on, and the best in my opinion. Buy this first, and when you love it, come back for The Runaway Dinner.