Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman

This lovely story calls to mind the classic Harold and the Purple Crayon, but it still gets my vote for most original story of 2008. It starts along simple lines, literally: once upon a time there was a pencil, and that pencil drew a boy, and that boy asked the pencil to draw a dog, and so on. As the cast of characters grows, the story expands and so do the illustrations, from the first black-and-white sketch of the pencil drawing a boy to the entrance of a paintbrush, when — behold! — everything switches to color, as when Dorothy emerges into Technicolor Oz. There are plot twists in the form of an eraser bent on destruction, but this being a kids' book, you can count on once upon a time ending with happily ever after.