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*Homework* by Arthur Yorinks, illustrated by Richard Egielski
by Arthur Yorinks, illustrated by Richard Egielski
Ages 4-8 32 pages Walker Books July 2009 Hardcover    

Pencil is furious because Fountain Pen splotched all over the place. Now Pencil’s story, which he started with Once upon a time, is ruined. Eraser doesn’t mind; he hated that beginning anyway. He wanted the story to begin A long time ago.

Book, Tape Dispenser and Ruler might have their own opinions about the story and the splotches, but if they do, they are keeping silent about them. They watch quietly from the sidelines as Eraser, Pencil, and two pens fight for creative control over Tony’s homework.

Tony should be doing this homework himself, but he’s fallen asleep again while reading. The school supplies are trying to help, but can splotchy purple blobs of ink impress Tony’s teacher? Pencil doesn’t think so.

One by one, the school supplies on Tony’s desk come to life. First it’s just the pencil and eraser, but as the argument between the eraser and pencil intensifies, a ballpoint pen and fountain pen open their eyes - they want to contribute to the homework, too. Soon all the school supplies are awake. Overhead, a book peers out from his pages; on the side of the desk, a ruler, a compass, and a triangle sit quietly in their container.

Although nothing gets accomplished with the homework at first, Pencil does complete the assignment in a way that makes everyone on the desk happy. He writes a story that Ballpoint Pen thinks is genius, brings Fountain Pen to tears and, makes Eraser yell “It’s the best thing I’ve ever read. I wouldn’t erase one thing!”

The illustrations in Homework are rendered in ink pens and watercolor. Tony’s love of outer space is reflected by his bedroom walls, his bed sheets, and his choice of reading material. Illustrator Richard Egielski colors Tony’s nighttime bedroom with dark blue and black backgrounds but illuminates the activity on Tony’s desk with the desk lamp. Most of the story is written in black or white text, but bright orange-red speech bubbles appear when Pencil narrates his final story.

Tony may be a procrastinator, but he gets his homework completed on time. All he needed was some inspiration. He doesn’t like doing his homework when his mother tells him, but after earning a B on this assignment, maybe he’ll be motivated to start his future homework earlier.

Children will enjoy Arthur Yorinks and Richard Egielski’s fun story about homework, seeing their everyday school supplies turn into characters who are just as worried as they are about getting homework done on time and earning a good mark.

Yorinks is the author of several children’s books including Louis the Fish, Hey, Al, and Ugh. He has also written and directed plays, operas, and films and lives in New York.

Egielski was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1987 for his illustrations in Hey, Al. His illustrations also appear in the children’s book Buz, The Gingerbread Boy, and The Web Files. He lives in New Jersey.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2009 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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