Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Letter Perfect! : Stewart's Best Pen by Stephen W. Martin

When Stewart found Craig at Camp Aye-Wanna-Go-Hom last summer, they became best friends forever!

Craig was a pen with a blue cap, just what Stewart had to have for those required letters home. Craig knew just the right words to use.

Dear Mom,Camp is fun, except for the wolves, but I think we are in the clear....

Stewart and Craig do stuff together. Stewart wears his red cap backwards and Craig wears his blue cap backward, too. Craig makes a pretty fair short sword for duels and is useful for writing random notes about his sisters' doll.
If you want to see Molly again, bring ten unlicked cookies to my room.

But then on the way to school Stewart loses his best friend Craig. He looks everywhere--under his bed, under his cat, even in the detention room at school. Dad offers his favorite yellow pencil, but it's just not the same.
Stewart was at a loss for words.

Then in a few days, Stewart finds a letter for him in his mailbox--from Japan....
Dear Stewart, I'm in JAPAN! Crazy, right? I fell out of your bag and a nice boy named Tadashi picked me up on the way to the airport. Japan is super and the giant monsters are really friendly. Please write soon!

This changes everything!

Stewart has lost his best friend pen but gained a best pen-pal, in Stephen W. Martin's epistolary picture book, Stewart's Best Pen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Clarion, 2018).  A  friendship between a boy and a ballpoint is an far-fetched premise that is just the stuff of a funny, fantastic storybook, drawn to perfection by artist Karl Newsom Edwards' anonymous but clever pen. There are many forms of friendship, and this story makes a great class read-aloud for a class unit on letter writing in which students invent their own best pen pal and letters or simply create more trans-Pacific letters between Stewart and Craig. "The concise, witty text works seamlessly with Edwards' illustrations," says Booklist.

For more pen-palery, pair this one with Josh Funk's Dear Dragon: A Pen Pal Tale, (See review here).

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