Reviews for Obstinate Pen

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Uncle Flood tries writing, "The following story is all true," with his new pen; what appears: "You have a BIG nose." The insulting, subversive, and anarchic pen falls into the hands of others but finds its true purpose with Uncle Flood's nephew Horace. Dormer's skinny-limbed characters inhabiting a world of merry chaos are reminiscent of Quentin Blake and share his energy and warmth.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #2
Writers and artists sometimes feel that their materials and tools are uncooperative, even hostile, but Uncle Flood has this problem in spades. His new pen is insulting, subversive, and anarchic. Uncle Flood tries to write, "The following story is all true," and what appears on the paper is "You have a BIG nose." When the pen falls into the hands of police officer Wonkle as he's trying to write a ticket, things look bad, but the pen turns out to be a bit of a romantic and matchmaker. In act three the pen ends up with Mrs. Norkham Pigeon-Smythe. She is determined to write a memoir of her "very lush life," but the pen has other ideas. Finally, the obstinate pen comes to rest with Uncle Flood's nephew Horace and in this congenial company finds its true purpose in life. Dormer's skinny-limbed, dot-eyed characters inhabiting a world of merry chaos are reminiscent of Quentin Blake and share his energy and warmth. sarah ellis Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 February #2
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) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #1

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.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 March

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

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