illus. by Max Amato. 48p. Scholastic. Jan. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780545829311. POP
PreS-Gr 2–In an "if you can't beat 'em, join'em" tale, an uptight neatnik learns to loosen up a bit. A rectangular pink eraser works hard at keeping the pages of this book free of any marks. Along comes a rogue pencil with an attitude that finds enjoyment in taunting the eraser with swirls and smudges, dirtying up the crisp, clean pages. The two characters, with stick arms and legs and expressive facial features, begin a battle of wills. Their conflict escalates as the pencil fills more of each page with dark gray and the exhausted eraser has trouble cleaning up after him. In a "lightbulb" moment, the eraser figures out that it is possible to make pictures by strategically omitting sections of a graphite-filled page, thereby creating his own designs. When the eraser finds himself once again on a pristine page, he discovers it's boring, so he sets about remedying the situation. The yellow pencil and pink eraser—whose reasons for existing would seem to be at cross-purposes—are the only colorful elements in this clever, humorous, and otherwise white and gray picture book.
VERDICT A fun read-aloud before art class or in a maker workshop.

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