The Obstinate Pen
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The Obstinate Pen

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  254 ratings  ·  71 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......more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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
Jacquelin Devlin
This is brilliant. And it isn't only children who think things that can't be said. Nuff said.
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...more
Sharon Lawler
This pen knows what it wants, and there will be no compromise!
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...more
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.
This book DID make me laugh out loud--which was embarrassing (well, slightly) in the quiet library reading room.

I love it! I can see so many possibilities for myself using the story of a pen that writes what IT wants(as opposed to the intention of the human wielding it at the time) in my theatre classes. I can also see it providing some amazing springboard ideas & activities for engaging students in the creative writing process!
Great read-aloud or read-alone that managed to get a most anti-romance second grader cheering along with the text, "Kiss her, banana head!" I guess that makes this the added material Peter Falk's character needed in The Princess Bride. Although both text and illustration felt a bit flat, it wasn't for any reason I could identify, and both are generally charming. Particularly for a pen that yells insults.
Reading Level: PreK-2

Uncle Flood is ready to begin writing his story - beginning with this sentence: "The following story is all true." (A great first line, if he does say so himself.)

However, his pen has other ideas for Uncle Flood's first line:

"You have a big nose."

"You have eyes as large as dinner plates."

"Your hair is like a bird's nest."

Can you imagine what sort of havoc the pen will wreak next?
Hilarious! And lots of interesting vocabulary. This one might be a good match for an older kid audience (although my 3 yr old was also quite amused himself).
Karen Arendt
A pen refuses to write the words other people want written. The pen writes what he wants, and it is usually insulting the the person. The pen is used by several people until Horace picks up the pen. Instead of writing, he draws with the pen, and it all works out ok. Fun story that will appeal to kids, especially when the pen insults people.
Sep 18, 2012 Marnie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: kids
i read this book as a homeschooling exercise with my 9 & 11 yr olds. even though it is seemingly targeted at a younger age, my two laughed heartily & really enjoyed it. we used it as inspiration for them to write and illustrate original stories of their own and they were inspired to write their own great works by this book.
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Sandy Brehl
A truly odd story, but one that intrigues. The obstinate pen insults, taunts, dares- writing what it chooses despite what the holder intends. it also stands "at attention" when not in use. After being discarded, imprisoned, and escaping it finally does as it is asked to do: draws.
Class 305
I love this book. Sadly, I didn't get that Horace was the nephew from the beginning of story. Proves that concentration is important while Good book to read for just that...recalling details. Its funny too. Good vocabulary like obstinate, precocious, lush and stationery.
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.
Uncle Flood is very pleased with his new pen until he tries to write with it and finds that it writes only what it wants to for him, and the series of people who try it after him, until finally his nephew Horace tries something new.
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