Monday, January 2, 2012

The Little Red Pen

Horn Book (March/April, 2011)

Poor Little Red Pen -- she always has to do everything herself. The stack of papers to grade threatens to overtake her, and she calls for help from her friends who are hiding in the desk drawer: the stapler, scissors, pencil, eraser, pushpin, and highlighter. The excuses mount up, and Little Red Pen knows she will have to do all the work herself. While laboring, she becomes exhausted and falls into the Pit of No Return -- the trashcan. The lazy office supplies come up with a Rube Goldberg contraption in order to rescue her, complete with rulers, paper clips, a hamster, and enough plays on words to keep even the most jaded reader chortling. Stevens's humor-filled watercolors are busy and active, especially since each character is a familiar object with its own personality, facial and body expressions, color, and even typeface. Particularly memorable are the stapler, with amazing teeth and tired eyes; the lime-green highlighter's bushy hair; and the sassy Latina pushpin, Senorita Chincheta. A rollicking read-aloud, this is a book that begs to be turned into a class play, readers' theater, or puppet show. robin l. smith

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