Ann Ingalls

Pencil: A Story With A Point RELEASE DATE: February 15, 2019 | ISBN-13: 978-1772780475

Pencil: A Story With A Point

Pencil and his boy Jackson are a great pair: they draw, they sketch, they scribble. But then Jackson gets Tablet and Pencil finds himself dumped in the dreaded junk drawer; he just can’t compete with Tablet’s videos, games, and movies. How will Pencil ever reclaim Jackson’s attention? With the help of some new pun-loving junk-drawer friends (and a drooling, pencil-chomping dog), Pencil sketches out a plan to draw Jackson back into their friendship.

A former educator whose first book was shortlisted for a Crystal Kite award, author Ann Ingalls uses kid-friendly puns and an upbeat tone in this story that celebrates friendship, collaboration, and unplugged fun. Buoyed by award-winning artist Dean Griffith’s always-exuberant illustrations, Pencil: A Story with a Point is a gentle reminder that technology is no match for imagination.

Teaching Guide

Download the Teaching Guide (PDF) or view it over at Pajama Press


From Kirkus:
Move over, Pencil; Tablet’s in town…but what happens when Tablet breaks? Jackson has a special relationship with Pencil. If Pencil isn’t tucked behind his ear, Pencil is in Jackson’s hand. “They scribbled and sketched.…They had loads of fun until… // …Tablet moved in.” Tablet makes Pencil feel “like #2.” Pencil’s fate gets worse and worse. He is dropped on the floor, chewed by the dog, and ends up in the junk drawer, where Scissors and Ruler treat him roughly. But then Jackson’s older sister, Jasmine, notices Pencil in the drawer and sticks him behind her ear. Pencil is elated—though he still endures snide remarks from Tablet. When Tablet falls to the floor and breaks, Jackson is inconsolable. Pencil tries desperately to cheer Jackson up, but nothing works…until he enlists his old companions from the drawer, Scissors, Paper Clip, Flashlight, Tape, and the rest. Jackson finally smiles again, and all the supplies end as friends, with pages full of puns. Pencil concludes, “I’ll be drawing on your friendship…and after all, that really is the point!” The illustrations feature expressive, googly-eyed implements and realistic children and animals interacting against a white background. Jackson and Jasmine are black, and Jasmine has voluminous natural hair. An overload of fun puns will have many readers giggling through to the openly sweet moral at the end. (Picture book. 4-8)

From Pickle Me This:
I will admit to being a bit wary of Pencil: A Story With a Point, by Ann Ingalls and Canadian illustrator Dean Griffiths. I am not convinced that the world necessarily needs more stories about anthropomorphized writing or colouring implements, plus I’d flipped through and saw it was also a story about the perils of too much screen time, and I’m wary of morals and screen fear-mongering. But the illustrations are very appealing (including very cool endpapers) so I sat down to read this with my daughter, and told her, “If we’re going to like this book, it’s going to have to be really good.” 

And it was. Primarily, because (as might be discerned from the book’s subtitle) Pencil is playful with language and we never got tired of the puns–”You don’t measure up,” says the ruler in the junk drawer, alongside the spare battery who says, “He’ll get a real charge out of that/ ‘”Happy to hold things together,” said Paper Clip and Tape.’ It goes on, ‘”You’re a cut above the rest,’ said Scissors/ “Our friendship is permanent,” said Marker.’ 

And while this indeed a pencil versus tablet story for our screen saturated age, it’s also more interesting than just that, about a boy who loved his pencil until he abandoned it for tablet pursuits, and then Pencil was rescued from the junk drawer by the boy’s sister, and was there to see it happen: the tablet crashing to the floor and breaking, the boy distraught. Is there anything that Pencil can do? 

The part where Pencil fails to make the boy feel better by showing him all the awesome things pencils can do (“He could be a tent pole for a really small tent.”) was very funny, and then, with the help of his junk drawer friends, Pencil arrives at an ingenious solution. Pencil and the boy are reunited. A happy ending to this warm and humorous book which demonstrates that a story with a point is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s all in the delivery, and this one is done right.

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