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NOOK Book (NOOK Kids - First Edition)
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This is what Uncle Flood wants to write with his new pen:
The following story is all true.
But the pen does not write that sentence. Instead it writes:
You have a big nose!
Who knows what to do with a pen that has a will of its own?
Not Uncle Flood.
Not Officer Wonkle.
But young Horace has an idea. . . .

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Editorial Reviews

Nell Casey
In telling the clever story of a pen with a mind of its own, Dormer bridges the gap between youthful precocity and adult sophistication, and makes a very good point about artistic inspiration along the way.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
The eponymous pen—both magical and stubborn—isn’t content to be the instrument of just any old human’s creativity. When a grownup possesses it, the pen will only write insults (instead of writing “The following story is all true,” for its first owner, the pen scribbles, “You have a BIG nose”) or unwanted advice (“Kiss her, banana head!” it instructs a police officer about to issue a citation to a smitten citizen). But when young Horace gets his mitts on the pen and begins drawing, it turns as docile as a kitty, allowing him to scribble as many drawings as his imagination can muster. The world of this book is more fleshed out and colorful than that of Dormer’s Socksquatch (2010), but it’s still goofily offbeat: rich people ride in enormous convertible limos, policemen dress like Gilbert and Sullivan characters, and topiary abounds. Dormer’s gift for understated whimsy shows no evidence of abating, and adult readers may even detect a little bit of William Steig in his amusement at (and affection for) the follies of humanity. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
From the Publisher
"...a surefire readaloud selection…”—BCCB

"In the hands of any person even remotely not to the pen's liking, it will write only such words as it wishes. These, to the delight of the reader, tend to be both comically candid and scathingly insulting."—Wall Street Journal

“In telling the clever story of a pen with a mind of its own, Dormer bridges the gap between youthful precocity and adult sophistication, and makes a very good point about artistic inspiration along the way.”—New York Times

"Children will enjoy the warm humor and silly-but-smart writing in this book..."—School Library Journal

“A book as much fun to engage as it is simply to follow.”-Kirkus

"...in this congenial company [the obstinate pen] finds its true purpose in life.”—Horn Book, starred

Praise for Socksquatch:

“Dormer’s hilarious, spot-on watercolor-and-ink illustrations make a monsterful hit with Socksquatch.” —School Library Journal

“The writing debut of illustrator Dormer has plenty of comic sensibility to go along with his signature scratchy line-and-watercolor illustrations. . . . While youngsters will definitely enjoy listening to this one in a crowd, don’t be surprised if they borrow it afterwards to reenact with a friend.” —BCCB

“Dormer’s (Supersister) naïf cartooning and simple silliness make this the kind of book that will probably get requested again and again.” —Publishers Weekly

“All expectations fall at the feet of the monsters, and they do not disappoint.” —Kirkus Reviews


Children's Literature - Marilyn Courtot
Horace looks on as his uncle unwraps a beautiful pen. His uncle chases him from the room exclaiming that he must have silence when he writes. Uncle Flood tries to write a sentence, but the pen has a mind of its own and writes something rather uncomplimentary. He tries again, but to no avail and in disgust throws the pen out the window. It lands in a most unusual place—Officer Wonkle's ear. It seems that it is just what the officer needed as he begins to write out a ticket to a lady names Miss Weeble. Once again the pen exhibits a mind of its own and suggests that the officer kiss the woman and the pen does this three times growing more and more emphatic. Horace has observed the pen's antics and when Officer Wonkle tosses it away it ends up in a limousine where Mrs. Pigeon-Smythe burst into laughter at the pen's antics and even uses it to entertain at a dinner party. After that the pen is put under glass, but nothing can keep this pen pent up. It escapes and ends up in Horace's hands and the young boy uses it to draw and now the pen and the boy are content. The pen and watercolor illustration are as amusing as the story and it will leave kids wondering where they can find such a magical pen. Reviewer: Marilyn Courtot
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—One day, a rather grouchy man buys a new pen. After yelling at his nephew Horace to leave the room so he can write in silence, Uncle Flood discovers that the pen will only let him write tactless, declarative statements like, "You have a big nose" instead of his intended story. Frustrated, he throws it out the window and its journey begins. The pen gets passed from person to person, causing trouble and insulting everyone along the way with its uncanny ability to uncover painful but amusing truths. Eventually, the pen ends up in Horace's possession and finally works "correctly" when the boy begins to draw pictures. Colorful cartoon illustrations add to the lighthearted tone of this quirky story. Children will enjoy the warm humor and silly-but-smart writing in this book, which would be suitable for both reading aloud or independently.—Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
A pen speaks the truth to a series of self-involved townsfolk in this pleasingly eccentric treat from Dormer. A new pen arrives at Uncle Flood's house. "Uncle Flood shivered with delight." Uncle Flood likes pens. But when Uncle Flood takes pen in hand and starts to write, "The following story is all true," the pen writes, "You have a BIG nose." This impertinence goes on long enough that Uncle Flood chucks the pen out the window, whereupon it starts its journey through the hands of an irascible policeman and a dinner party of snobs, correcting them as it goes. Not all of its jibes are especially constructive, though one certainly is: "Kiss that girl!" The pen finally lands in the mitts of a boy who knows how to tame the beast through a little honest drawing. The story is amusing and straightforward enough, and the language is a great deal of fun to roll around in your mouth: Wonkle and Weeble, Mrs. Norkham Pigeon-Smythe (aka Mrs. Floofy Pants), the Great King of Farflungdom. The artwork takes the cake, however, with its quivery line work, muted washes of color and Old World finesse. Is the pen obstinate or obstreperous? A book as much fun to engage as it is simply to follow. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466808935
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 4/10/2012
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • File size: 11 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Frank Dormer graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in illustration. 
He now divides his time between teaching and book illustration. He has created art for several children's books, including Socksquatch, his first book as both an author and illustrator. [frankwdormer.com]

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