From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—What a boy imagines while drawing is chronicled through a dialogue with an owl, a pig, and a crocodile, eraser creatures that live atop his colored pencils. The owl is good with words and backward letters. The pig erases everything except animals drawn larger than him. The crocodile is in charge of numbers. When the boy runs out of room after drawing a landscape, the crocodile goes too far, erasing and erasing until the trio lands in the middle of nowhere. Suddenly a wave sweeps the fearful friends onto a desert island, and they are chased by wild animals. The boy crumples and abandons his work, leaving the eraserheads stuck unless they can figure a way to inspire him to persevere and transform the scene into something else. Kulikov, a master of mixed-media illustrations, effectively uses two contrasting tones to create distinct, but juxtaposed worlds: the boy and his eraserheads are layered and densely rendered, while the child's artwork and the background images are lightly sketched and hatched with a watercolor base. This complex tale will intrigue those adventurers ready for a Jumanji
-like experience of jumping into the arduous but rewarding creative process of persevering through mistakes.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
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The creators of Max’s Words (2006) and Max’s Dragon (2008) collaborate again in this picture-book fantasy that begins in a very mundane, everyday setting: at a desk where a boy struggles with his homework. Three expressive, animal-shaped erasers help by rubbing out mistakes: a crocodile, who is “good with numbers”; an owl, who likes letters and words; and a pig with a big appetite, who will erase “just about anything.” The wild adventures begin when the boy ditches his lessons and begins to draw, and the erasers find themselves whisked perilously through each imagined world. They’re nearly drowned by a tidal wave from a beach scene and chased by wild animals until the crocodile, with some strategic erasing, sends a message to the boy, who sketches a boat and floats the gang safely in a calm sea. Banks folds reassuring messages about mistakes into this inventively illustrated title that, like David Wiesner’s Three Pigs (2001) and Mordicai Gerstein’s A Book (2009), plays with conventional story borders and may inspire kids to sail off on their own imagined escapades. Preschool-Grade 2. --Gillian Engberg