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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute cracker for 2-6s.
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...
Published on 20 Mar 2009 by ELH Browning

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars A little bit boring!
This is a story about a pencil who draws things which end up in the story including a paintbrush and erasers. It's a great idea but there just isn't enough interesting happening and it's very wordy - lots of names of different people and objects to remember. My three year and a half year old really loved 'Harold and the Purple Crayon' which is the same sort of concept...
Published 3 months ago by Juliette


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute cracker for 2-6s., 20 Mar 2009
By 
ELH Browning "Esther-Lou" (Kingston Bagpuize, Oxon) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Pencil (Hardcover)
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.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!!!!, 1 Feb 2009
By 
Chipstick (Buckinghamshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pencil (Hardcover)
This book is a gem! It's the story of a lonely pencil who draws people and animals to keep him company, giving them each names. All is lovely until he creates an over-excited rubber to remove a mistake. The rubber starts to rub out the whole of the pencil's creation....What can the pencil do to stop it but create ANOTHER rubber so the two erase eachother, leaving the pencil to recreate his world around him.

My summary does NOT do the story or lovely illustrations the justice they deserve! This book would be delightful shared with your own children but would make a suberb stimulus book for a literacy (or even philosphy/RE) lesson. What would children do if they could create anything? What happens when what we create turns against us. The story may be about a pencil, but the potential for developing thoughts and ideas is immense.

Superb. I can't recommend it highly enough!!!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring ideas, 31 Dec 2012
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This review is from: The Pencil (Paperback)
A very novel idea which really appealed to my grandsons, aged 4 and 6. I must have read it at least 10 times in the week I spent with them at christmas. The elder one now draws a picture of someone or something and thinks what they would want next, and why. The drawings become characters and decide to go places, thus developing story telling skills.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, 20 Sep 2009
By 
This review is from: The Pencil (Paperback)
It's a truly lovely and unusual book. My 3.5 year old loves it, as well as me. I think I buy it for her (we got ours from the library), and I think it will probably entertain her well into the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great little book, 23 Mar 2011
This review is from: The Pencil (Paperback)
This is a super little book for 3-6 year olds. The story is so clever and the children get very excited when, for example, the rubber arrives and deletes their previous story!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A clever and very well written book, 5 Nov 2010
This review is from: The Pencil (Paperback)
My son is 3 and he loves this book! He asks us to read it over and over again, and to be honest we don't mind because it is so well written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant read, 3 Oct 2010
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This review is from: The Pencil (Paperback)
- both my 3 year old and 5 year old love it, I like all the inappropriate names given to small obscure things and the people who have pets names.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the best children's book in the world..., 10 April 2010
By 
Louisa Dreisin (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Pencil (Paperback)
This incredible book - written by Allan Ahlberg in his customary conversational style and illustrated by the genius that is Bruce Ingman - tells the story of a sad, lonely little pencil who creates the whole world, assisted by the lovely Kitty, his paintbrush friend.

In this story Ahlberg introduces Banjo Cannon (also of 'The Runaway Dinner')and his friend the dog ('What's my name?) Bruce, the cat Mildred (who Kitty DOESN'T colour in as she's black and white) and Sebastian the football and many other very funny characters, who are all drawn by the pencil and coloured in by Kitty the paintbrush.

Read what happens when THE RUBBER turns bad and how the whole mess was cleared up.

What a wonderful story - we still read it nearly every night even though we've had it for months!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely story, 8 Jun 2014
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This review is from: The Pencil (Paperback)
A really engaging story with fantastic illustration. An allegory that helps children understand about comprise. A lovely story book for sharing.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A little bit boring!, 4 Jun 2014
By 
Juliette (Bedfordshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Pencil (Paperback)
This is a story about a pencil who draws things which end up in the story including a paintbrush and erasers. It's a great idea but there just isn't enough interesting happening and it's very wordy - lots of names of different people and objects to remember. My three year and a half year old really loved 'Harold and the Purple Crayon' which is the same sort of concept (and which I'd recommend instead for a three year old) so I thought he might like this, but it fell completely flat, and I have to admit that I found it rather boring to read. So I'm a bit puzzled as to all the rave reviews - maybe there is some sort of sweet spot age where the idea of the pencil drawing the paintbrush and eraser is really fascinating?
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