Pencil: A Story with a Point Reviews

Foreword Reviews ★ Starred Review

“Office supplies have never been more entertaining than they are in this punny tale of friendship and ingenuity. Old school and new tech go head to head when Jackson trades his longtime pal Pencil in for a shiny new Tablet. Cheerful illustrations add to the hilarity as Pencil tries a variety of toppers and innovative uses while enlisting the help of everyone from Eraser and Scissors to Sticky Notes and Flashlight in an effort to regain Jackson’s attention.”
—Pallas Gates McCorquodale

Kirkus Reviews

“Move over, Pencil; Tablet’s in town…but what happens when Tablet breaks?….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….The illustrations feature expressive, googly-eyed implements and realistic children and animals interacting against a white background….An overload of fun puns will have many readers giggling through to the openly sweet moral at the end.”

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NY Journal of Books

“The whole story is a format for a bunch of silly puns. Older kids will love it when they get the double meanings of the various school supplies. When Battery says, ‘He’ll get a real charge out of that,’ the astute second grader will understand the double meaning of charge and get the joke….

The digital art with lots of white space is hilarious, the kids are likable and diverse, and the speech bubbles help each object say the right thing. The end papers are robin’s egg blue and have the various white pages of the flip book with the dog as the star.

Corny as it is, Pencil: A Story with a Point is great fun. Every librarian should make it a point to order this delightful book.”
—Susan Middleton Elya

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ILA Literacy Daily, “Back-to-School Stories”

“What will it take for Pencil to make his mark and win his way back into Jackson’s heart? Dean Griffiths’ digitally rendered cartoon illustrations featuring animated school supplies complement Ann Ingalls’ clever, pun-filled story which has a point to make: New tools are not always better than old ones.”
—JS

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Resource Links

“Rating: E

Who would ever think that pencils, rulers, sticky notes, and other basic office supplies could be so much fun? In Ann Ingalls’ new book Pencil: A Story With a Point, readers discover a story of friendship and creativity, and suddenly office supplies become intriguing, comical, and enjoyable. Jackson and his best friend Pencil are inseparable, doing things together like writing, sketching, etc. When Tablet, a new friend, enters the scene Pencil is soon pushed aside for this new technological friend. One day Pencil is dropped on the floor and Bernie (dog) picks him up, starts to chew him, thus causing large dents in Pencil. Pencil then gets cast away in a dark drawer with other rejected office supplies. Pencil fears his life is over. Low and behold, one day the drawer opens and Pencil is rescued by Jasmine. But disaster strikes again and it is up to Pencil and his other office supply friends to come up with a solution to make Jackson smile again.

Through the use of personification, Ann Ingalls has created an entertaining and engaging book that is carefree, engaging and certainly a winner for young readers to enjoy….The illustrations provide a connection to the text and allow the reader to use their own imagination wondering if the objects could really talk! The use of the white background of the pages allows the illustrations to be even more powerful in their realism; the white background prevents readers from being distracted from the story and the illustrations.

Pencil: A Story With a Point is a perfect story to have readers enjoying a big belly laugh! Libraries and classrooms will certainly be filled with giggling children when this book is read during story-time read-alouds….

Thematic Links: Friendship; Computers; Puns/Wordplay; Conflict Resolution; Collaboration; Humour”
—Carmelita Cechetto-Shea

Read the full review on page 5 of the February 2019 issue of Resource Links

CM Magazine

“Veteran author Ann Ingalls has produced a book with a lightweight plot but much lighthearted play with language that will delight younger readers just learning about verbal humour as well as teachers who could use this book as a lesson on the pun as literary device.

Dean Griffiths is a British Columbia illustrator with a number of awards to his name. He has filled the pages of Pencil with familiar objects which are candy-colourful and plastic in their contours, as well as expressive images of the two dark-eyed, dark-haired children. Tooth-marked and a little off-kilter, Pencil is definitely a character in his own right in the story. The spread showing the shadowy interior of the junk drawer where a small green flashlight illuminates little but a number of pairs of eyes is especially captivating.”
—Ellen Heaney

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Youth Services Book Review

Rating 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a starred review) 5

To whom would you recommend this book? I could see this being enjoyed by children ages four through seven. It would be a great way to introduce a craft project — especially if children were making some sort of book. It really does show the importance of simple craft activities over constant stimulation on electronic devices….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” pile? Yes”
Kristin Guay, Centerville Library, Centerville, MA

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Children’s Book & Media Review

“Rating: Excellent…

Pencil: A Story with a Point celebrates imagination, friendship, and working together. One of the major themes of the book is the value and benefit of collaborative work. Another theme is that technology is no substitute for creative play. The text is clever with kid-friendly puns throughout. The graphics are eye-catching and colorful, making this a great book for children ages three to eight. For adults, this book prompts conversation about technology and its role in children’s lives.”

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Pickle Me This

“…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…

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?…[A] 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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Jana the Teacher

“This clever picture book reminds readers that even though our world is filled with exciting technology, sometimes the best fun comes from the simplicity of pencil and paper….Humorous, pun-filled text along with terrific artwork will make this a fun book to share with young children.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“It takes a community to find a solution. The conversational puns that follow will have readers giggling and trying their hand at creating some of their own … perfect! The colorful, expressive digital art is humorous in all the right places.”

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