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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Eraserheads, written by Kate Banks and illustrated by Boris Kulikov. Farrar, Douglas & McIntyre. 2010. $19.95 ages 5 and up

"One day the eraserheads were sitting on the edge of the boy's desk, watching a large picture take form. There was a beach with buckets and shovels and an umbrella.
Shells glittered in the sand."

What a great collaborative team! If you haven't seen or read Max's Words (Farrar, 2006) or Max's Dragon (Farrar, 2008) be sure to look for them at the library or your local bookstore. They will help prepare you for the wonder of the 'eraserheads', three pencil toppers who carefully erase the mistakes of the young boy who owns them.

The talent of the young artist is evident on the endpaper, at the front when we first meet him and then later, at the back as he leaves us behind. The owl, the crocodile and the pig are diligent in their attention to their master and they recognize the importance of their job. They eliminate mistakes as they are made, keeping track of homework..each with their own strengths and they follow their instincts, seeking perfection.

Then one day, they find themselves meandering along a road in one of the boy's drawings. When the road is erased, they find themselves stranded with nowhere to go and no way out, it seems. An errant wave scoops them up and deposits them on a deserted island, facing the spectre of wild animals and the abject fright felt by their presence. Some thoughtful planning assures their escape, until the bridge falls away and the boy decides he is not pleased with his drawing. Now, they really must get to work! An SOS message is discovered by the artist when he returns, and the tide is turned...all is well and everyone satisfied with the results.

There is so much attention to detail in this imaginative tale. You will find yourself poring over all Boris Kulikov brings to the telling. The expressive faces hold all the terror, tension and relief of such an adventure.

And there is a lesson to be learned: "Hooray for mistakes," for there would be nothing to be learned without them, and oh, yes..."hooray for erasers"!

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