From School Library Journal
K-Gr 2–Written with wit, humor, and puns galore, this fractured fairy tale features Little Red, a pencil in search of a story. Given a writing assignment by her teacher Ms. 2, Little Red travels down the story path with a basket of red nouns looking for the kind of tale that will allow her to display bravery and fight evil, “because red is the color of courage. But what would a brave pencil do?” As she journeys around the school, she encounters action words at the gym, descriptive words at the library, etc., until she comes across a long tangly tail that is up to no good. Brave Little Red follows it into Principal Granny's office where she comes upon the Wolf 3000, “the grumpiest, growliest, grindingest pencil sharpener ever made!” This is a book so rich in words and wry humor–written and visual–that one reading just isn't enough. Imagine kids running to the dictionary to look up “bosky” and “tenebrous” after getting bogged down in the dark, descriptive forest (the school library) or poring over Sweet's characteristically engaging watercolor, pencil, and collage illustrations for delicious details, such as the pencil school newspaper with the motto “We get to the point.” These pictures don't merely enhance Holub's clever text, they become a part of it through the use of layered papers upon which the dialogue is literally written in pencil. Little Red's classmates run the gamut of childhood types, each distinguished by its individualized eraser. Creative and fun, this book works equally well for storytime or story writing. Pair it with Janet Stevens's The Little Red Pen (Houghton, 2011) for the full gamut of school-supplies silliness.–Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Libraryα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this frothy literary folly, parts of speech, pieces of punctuation, and elements of style are sliced and diced and reassembled along the familiar route Little Red Riding Hood took to visit her grandmother. This time around, Ms. 2 informs her class of pencils that they’re writing a story, and Little Red sets off with her basket of 15 words. Along the way she cuts through a dense forest of description, interrupts the run-ons of Conjunction Glue, and verbs her way to Principal Granny’s office, just in time to foil the electrical teeth of the Wolf 3000 pencil sharpener before rescuing the shorter-than-before principal and returning to class to tell her tale. Holub’s circular story, more about the act of telling than the tale itself, finds enthusiastic interpretation in Sweet’s vivid, colorful visual chaos. Words abound, forming the tight font of the narrative, filling in the handwritten word balloons, and decorating the remaining real estate of the school’s walls, signs, cupboards, and bulletin boards. The resulting confusion makes for an easy, winning prompt for beginning writers to abandon their fears and take up pencils of their own. Grades K-3. --Thom Barthelmess