A pencil and an eraser―could there be a more perfect pair?
But in author and illustrator Max Amato’s raucously fun debut picture book, Perfect, an epic battle ensues between a rectangular pink eraser and a bright yellow pencil. Eraser throws down the gauntlet on the very first page, making it clear he likes things “perfectly clean,” with absolutely no squiggles or smudges. He basks amidst a spread of stark white pages, smugly stating, “No pencil can mess with me.” Eraser has met his match, however, as Pencil promptly taunts Eraser by drawing a goofy but spot-on caricature. Then the chase is on, where Amato fills the pages with drawings, smudges and glorious scatterings of eraser crumbs.
With spare text and simple but memorable illustrations, Amato has created an imaginative tale about what can happen when opposites collide. Using a combination of photographs and hand-drawn images, he effectively anthropomorphizes Pencil and Eraser, making great use of Pencil’s cavalcade of marks and Eraser’s endless attempts at cleanup. The faces of these warriors convey a full range of emotion―especially that of indomitable Eraser, who becomes awash in fury and chagrin when he finds himself lost in a forest of trees drawn by Pencil that soon turn the book’s pages into a smothering sea of black.
In the end, Eraser finds an ingenious way to escape Pencil’s endless sea of pencil marks. But when all is said and done, Eraser ultimately realizes he misses Pencil, and a friendship is born. Yes, these two may drive each other bananas, but Eraser concludes that a perfectly clean page without any challenge turns out to be boring and lonely.
Full of an abundance of heart, non-stop action and delightfully clever illustrations, Perfect is sure to be a beloved hit.