Tuesday, March 29, 2011

30th March Pencil Day

30th March marks the day when a patent was taken out by Hymen Lipman in 1858 on the first pencil with a rubber (eraser) attached and thus it has become known as Pencil Day.

Pencils, crayons, pens, all sorts of drawing implements feature in many books and usually they have a degree of magic where whatever they draw becomes reality. Anthony Browne realised the magic pencil's potential many years ago when he created the bear with the magic pencil. He appeared in Bear Hunt; Bear Goes to Town; Little Bear Book and A Bear-y Tale and when I began teaching these books created a lot of fun on rainy lunchtimes when my class would make their own bear and magic pencil adventures. Except for the first title these books seem to be out of print so you will need to hunt in a library. Recently Anthony Browne resurrected bear and turned the concept into a competition in Britain. The result of this is a new book called The Bear With the Magic Pencil. Maybe it will mean the older titles can be reissued.

Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman also explore the concept of a pencil that can draw and create new objects in The Pencil. Everything goes well in this story until the pencil draws an eraser.

And, if you are looking for a longer book, but one that still has that sense of mischief, read Andy Griffiths' Pencil of Doom.

Of course the day could just be enjoyed by drawing with pencils, special pencils like aquarelles or metallic ones or by exploring how pencils are made. Angela Royston's book How is a Pencil Made? will help with this.

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