Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Review - Linus, The Little Yellow Pencil

Linus, The Little Yellow Pencil
by Scott Magoon
Date: 2019
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: library

Linus and his eraser, Ernie, don't always see eye to eye. But with the family art show drawing near, these two will have to sharpen their collaboration to make something neither one could do on their own! This ode to art by the illustrator of Spoon and Chopsticks points out the power of sharing the creative process and sticking with it.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This is a rather strange little story, but I kind of like it. Here we have a pencil named Linus. He likes to draw. Unfortunately, his eraser, Ernie, has a bit of an attitude problem. He's always undermining Linus's confidence and erasing his work because it's not good enough. Dejected, Linus seeks a place to be alone, and there he meets someone who gives him some sage advice.

The message here is obviously about cooperation and believing in yourself. The one thing I'm not really sold on is how fast Ernie comes around. He's the main driving force behind the conflict--and the character who really needs to learn the lesson--but it seems to be all up to Linus to solve the problems. Ernie just goes along for the ride, and while I can respect that as a metaphor (a pencil eraser can't just go off and do its own thing, after all), I think his change of heart is a bit too quick to be realistic.

That aside, the rest of the story is fine, complete with puns (some of which will probably go over kids' heads, but adult readers will get them) and lots of cute anthropomorphized art supplies. I don't know why a bunch of stationery is having an art show, but they are. You kind of just have to go with it.

The illustrations are fun, and the compromise Linus and Ernie come to when making their art is kind of simple but very effective. Overall, this is a nice picture book about cooperation and learning to work with people you might not always get along with.

Quotable moment:

Premise: 4/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 3/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 3/5

Overall: 3.5 out of 5

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