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The Pencil

4.02  ·  Rating Details  ·  708 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
The creators of THE RUNAWAY DINNER and PREVIOUSLY team up to imagine the comical world that comes to life when a lonely pencil starts to draw.

"One day that little pencil made a move, shivered slightly, quivered somewhat . . . and began to draw."

Welcome back Banjo, the boy from THE RUNAWAY DINNER! Once a pencil draws him, there's no telling what will come next — a dog, a ca
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published August 12th 2008 by Candlewick Press (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,180)
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Aug 21, 2008 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Ahlberg and Ingman have created a picture book that is both charming and inventive. It is the story of a lonely pencil who decides to start drawing and creates its own world, filled with a boy, a dog, a cat, a paintbrush and much more. Trouble comes when the pencil creates an eraser who starts to take control. But clever thinking and quick drawing bring the story back full circle.

The humorous bits are what make this book work so well. There are small running gags, silly moments and other funny b
Jan 02, 2009 Scope rated it it was amazing
Many of the picture books I read are firmly “of the times” - characters, dialog, and illustrations all combine to declare modernity. I envision kids reading these books for a few years and then, well I’m not sure. Some of them will have longevity and some won’t - it’s often hard to tell. Much more rarely do I encounter books that successfully rise above the here and now. Their combination of story and images displays a timelessness that will likely appeal to readers for years to come. “The Penci ...more
Jul 27, 2009 Kathryn rated it really liked it
So creative! What happens when a pencil begins to create his own world--and then creates an eraser that gets carried away...!? I really enjoyed the journey.
Oct 30, 2009 Liz rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: 4 years and older
Shelves: lis-565
The Pencil is a purely delightful book! It begins with a lonely pencil who starts to draw first a boy then a dog and a cat. When their world needs color he draws a paintbrush to color everything in. Soon the boy has a mother named Mr., a father named Mrs. and a sister named Elsie. Everyone is happy except Mr. doesn't like her hat and Mrs. ears are too big, so the pencil draws an eraser. The eraser gets carried away and erases everything and just before the eraser erases away the pencil the penci ...more
Creative and clever. A lonely pencil begins to draw people and animals to keep him company. Trouble ensues when his creations start getting picky and demanding. An eraser is added to the mix and begins to rub everything out.
My kids love this one. In fact my 5 year is standing here right now trying to dictate what I should be writing about the book. :-)
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Mildly amusing, I don't quite see the appeal that others seem to be able to spot. It is a fantasy but it does not seem to follow an internal logic -- which is that the pencil should not be able to create a paintbrush with 3 colors of brush tip. That solution is flimsy and unconvincing, even if the story is kind of fun.
Kathryn Boyle
Aug 12, 2014 Kathryn Boyle rated it really liked it
Once there was a pencil, a lonely little pencil, and nothing else. It lay there, which was nowhere in particular, for a long, long time. Then one day that little pencil made a move, shivered slightly, quivered somewhat...and began to draw.

This is a creative story picture book about a lonely little pencil. One day it made a move and began to draw. The pencil drew a boy and named him Banjo. The boy then asked for a dog and so the pencil drew a dog named Bruce. When Bruce asks the pencil to draw a
Nov 17, 2008 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-aloud
This is a fabulous story of life and death disguised as a children's book. That sounds pretentious, but this book is completely not. Together with The Runaway Dinner and Previously, Ahlberg and Ingham are cornering the market on existential dramas for the under-five crowd.
Feb 01, 2012 Romaine rated it really liked it
The pencil tells a beautiful story about a lonely pencil. All alone he decides to start drawing. He draws some beautiful things but they all start complaining. Trying to please everything he created he runs into a bit of a problem and has to solve it. This story is very witty and indeed the pencil is very smart. It had me thinking straight awy all the great things you could do with this book... art, RE, memory games, PSHE.. it would be great for boys and girls from age 7. brilliant for discussio ...more
Mar 30, 2016 Melki rated it really liked it
Shelves: children
I was not wild about the artwork, but the creativity more than made up for that fact. Clever and fun from start to finish.
L- Lisa
Feb 16, 2010 L- Lisa rated it really liked it
This picture book fantasy brings to life a whole new world as a pencil begins to draw the story. The story line builds for the young audience, as the pencil constructs new characters and objects, naming family members and pets, then drawing a paintbrush to color this new world. As conflicts happen within the newly created characters an eraser is drawn by the pencil, just in time to rub out the difficulty. I found myself thinking of the wonderful Harold and the Purple Crayon. This could be a good ...more
Maribeth Carreon
I wouldn't think that The Pencil would fall under fantasy, it just looked like a children's picturebook. When you actually think about the characteristics and factors that go into a fantasy book, this one does fit them all. The title is actually what the book is about, the pencil. The author starts out with a blank canvas and creates the story however way the pencil wants it to be. Along the way the story changes into disastrous events that eventually make up a new theme.

In this book, the write
Paola Galindo
Feb 01, 2015 Paola Galindo rated it it was amazing
The Pencil is the story of a lonely pencil that draws an entire world for itself. It starts with a pencil that draws a boy and a family, they then get color and the world seems complete. Until the people in his world are aware that they don't like the way their world is. The pencil draws an eraser that gets so carried away it accidentally erases everything. The pencil gets rid of the eraser and draws its life back to the way it was.

I thought that this was a really fun and creative story. I can
Author: Allan Ahlberg
Illustrator: Bruce Ingman
First Published: 2008

With the feel of Harold and the Purple Crayon, Ahlberg and ingman give a witty, imaginative story of the pencil who drew.

The almost-three-yo insisted on an immediate re-read, simply to see the dramatic climax with the rubber (eraser).

Clever, funny and appealing.

Read aloud - 3+
Read yourself - 7+

w'pedia Alan Ahlberg:
Bruce Ingman's website:

(ISBN 9781
Debbie Hayes-miller
Oct 07, 2008 Debbie Hayes-miller rated it really liked it
This is a charming picture book that gives the pencil the role of narrator. The pencil illustrates the events happening in the story and give names to his drawings and makes everything come alive. It is very reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Story events come to a climax when everything is destroyed by the eraser. Students could have a fun time predicting what will happen next in this book.
Gwen the Librarian
Sep 10, 2008 Gwen the Librarian rated it really liked it
Shelves: picturebooks
I really enjoyed this story of a pencil who draws a whole world. His drawings are quite demanding - they need names, color, food, their ears are too big, FIX IT, Pencil! Pencil draws a paintbrush and an eraser to help him create a whole world, but mistakes do happen, as with any art project.

I love the build-up of the story and the fun illustrations.
Michael Torres
Mar 10, 2015 Michael Torres rated it really liked it
One thing that was really great about this book was the way the illustrations were so simple, yet still looked nice and clear. In one audio reading of the book, line shape play a big role in this book. All throughout the pages the lines vary from shape to length. The drawings in the book almost inspire you to pick up a pencil and try drawing again. The illustrations are easy for those of lower grade levels, such as 1st and 2nd grade, to be able to tell easily what the picture is. Another element ...more
Sep 08, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
This was a very original picture book. I have enjoyed some of Ahlberg's work over the years and think this is one of his best. (I also love The Bravest Ever Bear) I don't always 'get' his humor, but in this case, I felt the book was clever, fun, and full of surprises.
Joanna Marple
Oct 02, 2012 Joanna Marple rated it it was amazing
First Lines/synopsis: Once there was a pencil, a lonely little pencil and nothing else. It lay there, which was nowhere in particular, for a long, long time. Then one day that little pencil made a move, shivered slightly, quivered somewhat…… and began to draw.

The Pencil drew a boy. “What’s my name?” said the boy. “Er…. Banjo.” said the pencil. “Good,” said Banjo, “draw me a dog.”

Aren’t you utterly intrigued already? Once there was a pencil, who loved to draw. He sketches wonderful things – a boy
Kristanne Duncan
Sep 11, 2012 Kristanne Duncan rated it liked it
The Pencil is a cute story about a lonely pencil who decides to draw himself some companions. He starts with drawing a boy, a dog, and a cat. As the pencil continues to draw, everyone notices that nothing has color, everything is black and white. So the pencil decides to draw a paintbrush. The paintbrush begins to color in all that the pencil draws. Eventually all of the things that the pencil and paintbrush have created begin to complain. Of course, the only way to fix these complaints is to dr ...more
Feb 26, 2009 Tressa rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile
Once there was a pencil, a lonely little pencil, and nothing else. It lay there, which was nowhere in particular, for a long, long time. Then one day that little pencil made a move, shivered slightly, quivered somewhat...and began to draw.

Allan Ahlberg's The Pencil is one adorable book. A lonely pencil gets creative and starts drawing. But human nature is predictable, and eventually the people and even their pets start asking for more and more and more. They want to be named. They want to eat. T
Oct 11, 2009 earthy rated it it was ok
A lonely little pencil begins to draw companions and a world for itself, but its creations quickly get out of hand. The art, while not impressive, does match the text well as the pencil moves from back and white to color and from a sparsely populated page to an extremely busy one. The acrylic drawings look quite a bit like something a young child would draw. The personification of the pencil, the paintbrush, and the erasers is done well with simple silly facial expressions. The story is a little ...more
Oct 27, 2015 Alicia rated it it was amazing
I love this book! It goes beyond the purple crayon book and the crayons who decide to call it quits. There's an actual story here with well developed characters, main dilemma, plot dilemma, climax, even denouement!...all from an ordinary lead pencil! Obviously, not your ordinary author and illustrator, though! An excellent book for any elementary grade language arts class. was fun to read! But don't be stingy...Be sure to share this one with your kids!
Katy Mcnab
A delightful story that unravels before your eyes! Ahlberg and Ingman tell a beautiful story that begins with a simple mark made by a pencil, a pencil who creates a world around himself. This creatively silly children's book has a very well disguised undercurrent of real life; companionship, complacency, dissatisfaction, and greed.

With wonderfully comic moments, the story develops from a tiny squiggle of pencil to a world full of characters and colour!
Jul 23, 2014 Beth rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Reminiscent of the classic Harold and the Purple Crayon, a pencil draws himself a partner — a paintbrush — and they get to work illustrating this story … though there’s a little bit of a problem when the eraser gets a bit overzealous. My favorite part was the names given to all the things the pencil drew: Banjo and Bruce and a bunch of ants with A-names. A creative book that just might spark some creativity in your kids, too.
Feb 26, 2016 Susan rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
I don't understand why the characters in the book were so rude and demanding.

I also totally do not understand the entertainment value of a psychopathic eraser killing people and animals and destroying everything in its path. Plus, you cannot erase paintings with an eraser.

Can I also mention that it is really annoying when writers have characters 'say' questions? Are they too lazy to use the word 'ask'?
Feb 13, 2015 Invicta rated it really liked it
A fun book about a pencil that begins to draw a world around it... Then he draws a paintbrush to add colour. One day the world he has created start to become to demanding so he draws a rubber but the rubber wreaks havoc!
In my experience children love this book! It is also great if you are trying to stop your children from using rubbers in lessons as the rubber in this story is evil! :)
Jan 26, 2016 Joff! rated it liked it
This was a pleasant enough story about a pencil who ends up drawing a whole world of people until things start to go wrong when the pencil draws a rubber. It is perhaps a reminder for us to not look a gift horse in the mouth and to be grateful for what we're are given, as the problems all start when the people the pencil has created start to complain.
Jan 15, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it
Reminded me so much of The Magical Drawings of Mooney B. Finch from my childhood. CC deemed it "cute and colorful" and she was very happy that the paintbrush gave the pencil some color of his own in the end.
Traci Bold
Feb 10, 2016 Traci Bold rated it it was amazing
Oh the power of a pencil. Many objects have stories to tell that most people do not think of. Author, Allan Ahlberg thought of the pencil's story and put pencil to paper, well, Bruce Ingman did, and together they came up this cute story that really makes you think.

Published by Candlewick Press.

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UEL Primary PGCE ...: Book Review 6 - The Pencil 1 5 Aug 12, 2014 11:53AM  
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Allan Ahlberg, one of the most acclaimed and successful authors of children's books - including the best-selling Jolly Postman series - says that he dreamed of becoming a writer since the age of twelve. But his route to that goal was somewhat circuitous.

Other jobs along the way included postman (not an especially jolly one, he recalls), gravedigger, plumber, and teacher.

The author wrote his firs
More about Allan Ahlberg...

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