Delete v.1.0: The Eraserheads by Kate Banks
"Take chances! Make mistakes!" Ms. Frizzle, the gung-ho science teacher of Magic School Bus fame, always exhorted her bemused young students, and Kate Banks' latest, The Eraserheads (Farrar, Strous, & Giroux, 2010) advocates the same theme. Her jaunty knights of the pencil cup, bright-colored cap erasers in the form of Crocodile, Owl, and Pig, attack errors with elan, erasing mistakes without remorse.
4 + 3 = 8, THE BOY WROTE.
"WHOOPS! THAT'S NOT RIGHT!" SAID THE CROCODILE. THE CROCODILE WAS GOOD WITH NUMBERS. HE ERASED THE 8. THE BOY PUT A 7 IN ITS PLACE.
Owl specializes in letters, correcting sloppy shapes and misspelled words with great skill. Pig, on the other hand, is not fussy. He just loves to "eat" any kind of mistake, as long as it doesn't involve something that might eat him!
All is well in the Land of Paper and Pencils until the Boy's drawing of a beach scene gets a bit out of hand and threatens to take the Eraserheads right off the page.
THE CROCODILE BEGAN TO ERASE THE ROAD. HE GOT CARRIED AWAY. HE RUBBED AND RUBBED UNTIL HE'D ERASED THE ROAD COMPLETELY. AND THE ERASERHEADS WERE LEFT IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!
"OOOPS!" SAID THE CROCODILE. "WE'VE MADE A MISTAKE. WE'RE SUPPOSED TO CORRECT MISTAKES, NOT MAKE THEM."
Kate Banks' premise is clever, but it is Boris Kulikov's bright acrylic illustrations which bring her theme to realization with their realistically portrayed characters and backgrounds which take the reader right into the world of the Eraserheads. Banks and Krulikov are also collaborators on their highly reviewed earlier works, Max's Words and its sequel Max's Dragon.