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The Obstinate Pen

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  324 ratings  ·  85 reviews
This is what Uncle Flood wants to write with his new pen: The following story is all true.

But the pen does not write that sentence. Instead it writes: You have a big nose!

Who knows what to do with a pen that has a will of its own?
Not Uncle Flood.
Not Officer Wonkle.
But young Horace has an idea...
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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(showing 1-30 of 520)
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David Schaafsma
Somewhat in the manner of Harold and the Purple Crayon or Journey, the medium becomes the message.. or, the means to artistic expression takes over.. or, an obstinate pen refuses to do what the child writer wants it to tell and instead writes silly stuff like "you have a big nose" or when the policeman borrows it from the kid, it writes, "kiss that lady." Now, one might hope for something more than just silliness when the pen gets obstinate, but silly is sometimes good, too.
This book was so silly. Good silly, like Shel Silverstein. It will be super great read aloud for the big kids storytime.
Full disclosure: I've known this book since it was a doodle. But really, how can you NOT love a book with a title like this?
I love going to office supply stores. I love walking the rows of pens and finding just the right one - blue ink, a delicate shape, heavy enough to feel like something, not so heavy it tires the hand. The right pen is like the right shoes - Ahhhhh. The best of pens should keep the writer honest, it should encourage daring, it should tell the truth. Will your pen do all of those things for you or will it tell you to "Go hug a porcupine?" Frank W. Dormer's latest picture book The Obstinate Pen made ...more
A lovely pen makes its way from owner to owner because it refuses to write what it is told.

The whole idea of a pen that writes insults instead of what a person wants is hilarious. The reactions of the different people to this pen were great, too - I especially loved the police officer who kissed the woman he was trying to write a ticket to because the pen told him to.
Mrs. Gabrielle Zastrow's
Why did we like this story? It was a funny, silly book that inspired many of us to write about other obstinate objects!!! We also made SMASH journal pages from the point of view of the sassy, obstinate PEN!!!

Story Map

Who is this book about? The Pen

Where and When does the story take place? Takes place in a city and at homes during the day.

What is the problem? The Pen will not write what it is suppose to. It is obstinate.

What are the three events/failures to try to fix the problem?
1. Horace's Uncl
No wonder some people have trouble writing. It's the pen's fault!!! Seriously, this book is funny. If you're a writer, think you're a writer, would like to be a writer, you need to read this book. If you think writing is horrible and stupid, you should read this book, too.
Horace's Uncle Flood is all set to write with his new pen, but when he sets pen to paper, the pen writes whatever it wants rather than following the dictates of the person who wields it. In fact, the pen even insults Uncle Flood who ends up tossing it out the window. From there, it stirs up a little romance between Officer Wonkle and Miss Glenda Weeble and becomes the star of a dinner party at the house of Mrs. Norkham Pigeon-Smythe who hides it away. When the pen finally comes into the hands of ...more
Interesting. And funny. I enjoyed the story and liked seeing what the pen wrote instead of what the people tried to make it write. I liked the ending--didn't expect tghat at all. I think the preschool kids might enjoy it. Not sure how much they'd get, but I would assume they would see the humor in what the pen was writing. Maybe? I'll have to see.

5/9/12 For me last book with my smaller than usual group, it was either this book of "Sniffles for Bear." I worried that the latter would have some jok
The Obstinate Pen is a fictional story about a pen that has a mind of its own. In this story there is a pen that gets passed from person to person because the owners get fed up with it not writing the things they try to write,so they end up getting rid of the pen in some way. I did not feel that this book was well written. This book could teach about perspectives and to laugh when you want to cry or are upset.
A pen with a mind of its own! The story begins with Uncle Flood buying a new pen so he can write a story. Uncle Flood then excitedly writes down a sentence, "The following story is all true," but those aren't the words that appear on the paper. Instead the pen writes insults at him, no matter how many times he tries to write the same sentence. Frustrated, he throws the pen out the window where it is found by a police officer. Officer Wonkle tries to issue a citation to a young woman, but instead ...more
I think this book is really funny!
I like how this book is not about a character, it is about a pen. Also, the pen is characterised to be as cheeky as the children. My favourite line is "Kiss that girl!". I would recommend this book to children that like mischief.
Jan Rue
May 27, 2013 Jan Rue added it
Shelves: ed-689-books
Written by Frank W. Dormer. (2012) New York: Henry Holt & Co. Illustrations were done in watercolor, pen and mixed media. This is a great picture book and is written about from the pen's point of view. He does not want to write what people want him to write. He goes is on way and get mad at others wanting him to write something specific. Then a little boy admires the pen and he lets the boy write what he wants to write, using the pen as it was suppose to do. It would be a great book to have ...more
I read this out loud to my 3 daughters and I thought it was silly and funny but they didn't seem to enjoy it as much as I did. It definitely is a good read aloud book and hopefully the audience is more lively than mine was.
This book is so much fun! It doesn't talk down to kids, but has a sense of humor that will appeal to both kids and their kid-at-heart parents/caregivers.

It stars an obstinate pen that won't write what its users want it to write. For instance, when an police officer finds the pen and tries to use it to write a ticket to one Miss Glenda Weeble, instead of her name, the pen writes, "Kiss that girl!"

The pen encounters several characters who would be fun to voice while reading the story aloud.

I would
A nice read just to introduce a new vocab word; and for a creative idea. Would be interesting to read alongside Griffiths' 'Pencil of Doom' to draw comparisons between the stories.
It was okay. I didn't so much love the part where the pen encouraged the police officer to kiss the lady. I really don't know if I like it enough to put it in my classroom.
What a sense of humor! I loved this book. Various characters pick up this pen, and attempt to write their thoughts. However, the pen only writes The Truth! Or, at least the truthful opinion of the pen. The best character is Mrs. Floofy Pants, or Mrs. Pigeon-Smythe by her true name. She cracks up at the pen, just as I did with this book. The illustrations are fun and engaging. That is one aspect of the book that I enjoyed. It is visually appealing and engaging. I always enjoy the book more if you ...more
Ms Threlkeld
A delightful story about a pen that refuses to write what the owner intends. Quirky illustrations, too.
Jacquelin Devlin
This is brilliant. And it isn't only children who think things that can't be said. Nuff said.
Such a great, comical children's book! I loved the style of the illustrations too.
Robert Beveridge
Frank W. Dormer, The Obstinate Pen (Henry Holt, 2012)

Funny, smart, sarcastic book about a pen that knows its own mind and isn't afraid to say it. Every time someone picks up the pen and tries to write with it, the pen says something different, causing varying reactions in the story's characters. I would have liked to see this one a little longer; it suffered from the current strictures on books written for the pre-literary set (which seem to consist of “make it short”, “make it shorter”, and “ma
Sharon Lawler
This pen knows what it wants, and there will be no compromise!
Ellen Ramsey
Funny and clever, with a marvelous surprise ending.
Horace's Uncle Flood acquires a new pen and is very excited to use it. However when he attempts to write "the following story is all true," the pen writes "you have a big nose." Uncle flood tries again and the pen writes "you have eyes as large as dinner plates." Frustrated, he throws the pen out the window where it lands on a police man's ear.

More hilarity ensues as the pen is passed from person to person. Eventually it ends up in Horace's hands and he is able to make do what he wants it to: dr
This is a hilarious story of a pen with a mind of its own. The pen travels from person to person, getting thrown out only to be picked up by another person. Kids will enjoy the rollicking prank of this pen. But Some parents may not approve of the pen's rude remarks., so be forewarned. What I loved about the book is the ending. It was a sweet, surprising and simple endng that left me satisfied. The ending also opens the door to more possibilities that the readers can explore on their own.
Jupiter Sinclair
There's nothing more frustrating than sitting down to write a story or your memoir while using a pen that has it's own ideas of what to write. Thankfully, mine doesn't write insults like the pen in this book. Although,as in the book, having a pen point out to you how ridiculous you may be acting or tell you what you should be doing (such as kissing someone!) might not be such a bad idea

We became big fans of Frank Dormer's Socksquatch earlier this year ...this one's become just as beloved.
Great Books
Jun 05, 2012 Great Books added it
Shelves: ages-5-8
Uncle Flood wants to start his stoy this way: "The following story is all true" but his new pen will not allow him to write what he wants. Instead, it insults him-"You have a big nose" and similar events occur as the pen finds its way into the hands of other grown-ups. It is not until the pen finds a young owner, that it stops slewing insults and shows its true purpose. An eccentric, hilarious tale of a strong willed writing utensil that is sure to make you chuckle!

Reviewer 2
Jim Erekson
It takes a special person to carry off this kind of illustration, which harks to James Marshall. I'll have to look at more of Dormer's books, because it was pretty good--I'll need more convincing.

As far as the story goes, I was more impressed. The pen wants to be free to do what it wants and does what it needs to to be set free. A wee bit schmarmy, with the Rousseauian view of the child, but this fits well with a child-centered approach to child characters.
Mrs. Knott
All readers will enjoy the comedy in this book - and learn some new vocabulary! Kids know what being stubborn is, but obstinate... well, they will get a perfect example of it in this book! The pen in this book has a mind of its own and shows it by 'obstinately' not writing down what the author wants it to, but writes down its own thoughts... which often are not the kindest comments, but will be very humorous to young readers.
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