We just recently purchased this book, The Pencil, by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman. Honestly, it was a bit of an impulse purchase at a clever little boutique Beeper and I were wasting some time in one evening while waiting for a table to open up at the restaurant next door--but in the few short weeks it has been in our possession, it has become a favorite. The star of our story is, well, as one might expect, a pencil. Overcome with loneliness, one day the pencil draws a boy (named Banjo, of course), then at the behest of the boy, he draws a dog (named Bruce, naturally), and, then at the behest of the dog, he draws a cat (Mildred)...and so it goes. The Pencil draws a world in which the people and things run around and then get sort of cranky at him for making everything black and white only. So the pencil cleverly decides to draw a paintbrush (named Kitty--duh!) that fills the world with color--but does little to quell the growing grumpiness of the people and things he has drawn. They demand smaller ears, less ridiculous sneakers, NOT to be smoking a pipe, thank you very much. So, what choice does the poor pencil have but to draw an eraser. Smart, non? Oh, but the eraser gets way out of control and mass chaos ensues--until the pencil figures out how to save the day--as the hero of the story should.
Really, I am not sure what the overarching message of this book is supposed to be--but it is silly and unexpected and different enough that Beeper had to read it two times in a row the first night we had it--and then asked to read it again the very next night. And also, I really do love the simple illustrations. As it turns out, anthropomophized art supplies and an untraditional story-line really do make a swell children's book.