Friday, May 8, 2020

ARABELLA AND THE MAGIC PENCIL by Stephanie Ward & Shaney Hyde - What would you do with a magic pencil?

This delightful what-if story is a perfect way to escape! What would you do with a magic pencil? I received a beautiful signed copy of this book as a prize from Justin Colon – a huge supporter and encourager of picture book creatives, as well as the founder of #PBChat on Twitter. For more about Justin, check out his website, or twitter feed @JustinColon

Summary from the publisher  

Arabella is a beloved only child who has everything until her brother, Avery, arrives. While she loves him, it’s sometimes hard to like him. She spends her days creating marvellous things with her magic pencil, and ignoring him. But when he spoils her tea party, she decides drastic action is required and she erases him from her life. Oops! Can she get him back?

Arabella and the Magic Pencil was written by Stephanie Ward, illustrated by Shaney Hyde and published by EK Books in 2019.



There once was a girl named Arabella.

She was the only child of a duke and duchess who dote on their delightful daughter.

By royal decree, Arabella was granted one wish each year.


My Thoughts as a Writer:

I love the imaginative way that Arabella deals with the problem of an annoying little brother. Writers could study this story to see how to add a surprising twist to their story.

Whimsical watercolour illustrations create a beautiful fairy-tale feeling. I enjoyed studying all the small details on the clothing and in the backgrounds.


My Thoughts as an Educator:

This is a fun story that would be great to use as a mentor text for writing imaginative fantasy or fairy-tale themed stories. It clearly shows a problem for the main character, as well as her solution.

Ages: 4-7

Grades: K – 2

Themes: drawing, imagination, coping with siblings


Discuss: What is your favourite page in the story? Explain why.

Draw & Write: What would you do if you had a magic pencil? What problems would arise from your decision?

More Drawing Fun:  Take turns drawing or painting a picture with a younger or older sibling. What happens when you disagree? How do you solve problems?

Try this Magic Pencil Craft from the author. And here's author Stephanie Ward reading the book aloud

Want to read more great picture books? Check out the list at Perfect Picture Book Friday, a regular Friday feature organized by children's author Susanna Leonard Hill


  1. I love the unusual twist in this story! So imaginative! Loved the video, until it stopped at a key moment in the story. Gonna have to read this one to find out what happenes! Very clever book and I love the artwork!

  2. What a creative way to deal with this perennial issue! I've read the story, Otto Grows Down, about the boy who wishes his baby sister had never been born (because it IS his birthday after all), and getting his wish, he proceeds to "grow down" until he figures out this wasn't what he wanted at all. Love these kinds of twists on old themes!

  3. Interesting sibling story. Thanks for featuring it.


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