An unassuming boy, a single lead pencil and plenty of fresh white space make for a true descendent of Harold and the Purple Crayon, with its own flavor.
Andrew is a “doodle boy” with a standard pencil. This book’s thick, glossy pages are his expansive workspace: Andrew appears on the pages, drawing, and the pages are also the paper he’s drawing upon. Some pages are the same width as the cover, others narrower or wider, turning over or folding out to change a drawing’s meaning. Andrew doesn’t plan; he draws and sees where it takes him. “[B]efore he kn[ows] it,” an abstract line becomes a kite and then a rocket. If he draws stairs, they’re physical enough for him to sit on—but turn the flap, and they’re a dinosaur’s back. Andrew himself is rendered in color, while his carefully shaded desk and pencil sharpener are—quite wonderfully—the gray of his own pencil. “When night dr[aws] near,” Andrew slowly fills the space with dark pencil crosshatches until it’s something else entirely—perhaps the next day’s artwork or a nighttime dream. Any question of reality versus representation is the gentlest kind, utterly unobtrusive. Adults should keep an eye on the midbook 3-D easel featuring small, stapled-on papers vulnerable to eager hands, because those papers hold text as well as illustration.
Joyful imagination, plain and simple. (Picture book. 3-6)