Pictured Books

pictures of books in picture books

The Pencil

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This is the first of several Pictured Books spotted by eagle-eyed Juliette. The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg, illustrated by Bruce Ingman (Walker, 2008) is, of course, the tale of a pencil which draws an entire world – including an eraser …

At one point there is a picnic. ‘A whole column of ants (“What’re our names?” said the ants) came marching across the tablecloth.’ Everything needs to be named, so the individually-drawn ants are Alice, Alvie, Abraham, Amy, Araminta, Alberic, Algernon, Anastasia, Ada, Allan … and Allan is the author, carrying a miniature copy of The Pencil.

There is a wrinkle: as you can see, the cover at the top shows (from left to right) a cat, a bike, and a pencil; but the book which the ant is holding shows a bike, a cat, and a pencil. There are editions of The Pencil with covers closer to the miniature in this respect, but why a publisher would go to the effort of commissioning a new illustration for such a subtle difference is a mystery.

See also The Baby’s Catalogue and Red Nose Readers.

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