cover image My Pencil and Me

My Pencil and Me

Sara Varon. First Second, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-596-43589-6

Varon (Hold Hands) isn’t just the author of this how-to picture book—she’s the protagonist, too, drawing herself as a character who, stumped for a story, takes the advice of her dog, Sweet Pea, and asks her pencil for help. Pencil is a worthy aide (“Aw, forget about the eraser! It doesn’t need to be perfect”), and the protagonist is soon sketching an action-packed baseball tale of friends vs. brightly colored, adorably eclectic monsters. It’s all fun and games—Varon depicts herself as a power hitter—until Pencil insists that “nobody likes a book where everybody gets along” and is accidently snapped in two. The monsters take over the narrative, turn Pencil into a magic bat, and write themselves a massive victory. “Best story ever!” the winners declare, and the powers that be seem to agree: a few pages later, the meta book has a primo spot in a real bookstore window. The creative process—its pains, its joys, and its so-crazy-it-just-might-work moments—has found a thoroughly funny chronicler in Varon. Ages 3–6. [em](Sept.) [/em]