Monday, October 29, 2012

The Obstinate Pen

by Frank Dormer
Henry Holt | 2012

Uncle Flood's new pen arrives while Horace is visiting. He flees as Uncle Flood demands silence to write. He begins, "The following story is all true." But that's not what the pen writes. The pen, who is obviously obstinate, writes, "You have a BIG nose." Uncle Flood tries again. The pen insults him again. So Uncle Flood throws it out the window.

What follows is a stream of adults discovering and attempting to use the pen to no avail and with different reactions. In the end, it is Horace who winds up with the pen, and a surprise. For, it appears, in the right hands, the pen has no need to be obstinate.

This unique and original idea has turned into a fantastically illustrated picture book. It's funny and clever and droll. The characters are entertaining and readers learn quite a bit about each one, which is quite a feat considering the small number of words in a picture book.

Imagine if your pen suddenly started writing whatever it wanted rather than what you wanted. Ask your young readers to imagine it. What might it say? What a fun classroom activity!

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