Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Eraser by Anna Kang, illustrated by Christopher Weyant

Square, pink, pig-tailed Eraser is always cleaning things up. Her hard work isn't appreciated by Pencil, who takes credit for the things she fixes, or the other drawing and writing implements. She and her friends, Ruler and Pencil Sharpener, are left out of the games that Glue, Tape, and all the other "creative" implements play. When everyone leaves her out of a meeting, because it's for creators only, she determines to change the game and make her own creation. But things don't go so well and after Pencil's mean comments, she decides to leave.

Once off the desk, she discovers a whole other world - and realizes that she does create something - second chances! When she returns, she finds the other desk-dwellers, including Pencil, have realized how much they need her too. A wiser (and shorter) Pencil apologizes and working together they get an A+ on their project! There's no more division and Eraser forgives Pencil and invites him to join the whole group at lunch.

Weyant, who has partnered with Kang on a whole series of clever books that explore concepts like relative size as well as emotional intelligence, brings his humor and cartoon art to mix with Kang's silly puns and heartfelt story. Eraser is chunky and pink with big purple glasses, pigtails and a hint of bangs, skinny pink arms, and a wide smile that dims as she's continually left out. She's appropriately grubby from all her hard work. Pencil shows his supercilious character with haughty eyes and mean quirks of the eyebrows, but once he's been ground down a bit he's much more subdued.

Many tiny details add humor to the story; when she leaves the desk, Eraser packs her luggage (including extra paperclips for her hair) in a mint tin. Tape and Glue decorate all their friends with pipe cleaners and buttons, joining together for a rousing rendition of kumbaya and prompting Eraser to sigh that they can "get anyone to stick together."

With bright, clean colors, a humorous story, and a strong message of cooperation, appreciation for everyone's efforts, fixing mistakes, and trying again, this is sure to be a hit both in storytime and in the classroom. There's a great event kit available at the author's website and I'm thinking this would make a great lesson plan for our storytimes and charter school, paired with some other writing books, encouraging kids to create - and erase, draft, and sketch - their own stories. I'll post a lesson plan for that here when I get it put together!

Verdict: Sure to be as popular as Kang and Weyant's other titles, this upbeat story about working together and getting a second chance is a great addition to any school or library collection. Recommended.

ISBN: 9781503902589; Published September 2018 by Two Lions; Review copy provided by publisher; Donated to the library

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