Looking back through some of the posts of this last year of What We’ve Been Reading it becomes so clearly apparent that I’ve got some real favouritism going on. There’s a whole variety of stories and styles, from beautifully illustrated board books for Elma to chew on and drop on our toes, stories to lull Kitty into sleepiness with the rhymes of the sea, or for both of them to pour over to spot peacocks or penguins to pass an hour or two on a soggy afternoon.
But for all that there are some authors that strive as I might for that variety just keep turning up on the top of the pile, small hands scattering books to the floor as they look for their favourite and bringing it over to me with a beaming smile and the knowledge that the question “toree?” will rarely be met with a no.
There is of course a reason that favourites become and stay favourite; a magic with language and a skill in illustration that weaves the story around us and draws us in.
And right up there is Allan Ahlberg. And as he’s one of the most popular of all the authors not only that I’ve written about, but also just about everyone else that’s ever joined in (as you can see from the Pinterest Booklist!) I figure there’s a little room for another of his books to sneak in.
And besides, it’s far too good not to share!
It’s another of Allan Ahlberg’s more recent books, from his collaborations with Bruce Ingman, and just like Hooray for Bread it’s brilliantly and sweetly funny.
I’d say The Pencil is aimed at a slightly older age group than Hooray for Bread; the latter is slightly shorter and more rhythmic with it’s chorus of “Hooray for Bread” every few pages; The Pencil is more of an illustrated short story.
I bought knowing that Kitty would enjoy it, and that if Elma didn’t want to cuddle up for the whole thing that would be OK, and that we’ve got other things that we can read to her, but the girls always like to surprise us, or perhaps it’s just a testament to the story, but it’s a favourite with both, and with both parents.
Once upon a time there was a little pencil and he drew and drew and drew, a boy named Banjo, a dog named Bruce and a cat named Mildred, and Kitty the paintbrush coloured them in.
The pencil drew families and adventures and everyone was happy for a while, until he drew a rubber to change a few bits and bobs and the rubber rubbed everyone out, and started to come for the pencil!
As it is a children’s book I don’t think it’s a massive spoiler to say that he finds a very cunning and ingenious way out of that conundrum and at the end of the tale the Pencil, Kitty the paintbrush, Banjo, Bruce, Mildred, their families, friends, a ball named Sebastian and a veritable army of ants (all with names beginning with A, naturally) are tucked up safe and sound and fast asleep, and all is just as it sound be, with no rubbing out.
And if you have a favourite, or just something fun your little ones have enjoyed reading lately please do join us. The linky is always open for the whole week so there’s plenty of time. And so, without further ado, it’s over to you to tell me what we should be reading!