Being chosen by your father to receive the coveted family heirloom (a magic pencil) at first might seem the most desirable thing in the world. For Toby, big brother of Garth, trouble quickly arises from his very first sketch. Almost immediately, the boys are drawn into an incredible adventure, set across strange and colourful lands filled with characters from their own wild imaginations.
In Gary Della’s and Dillon Naylor’s Toby & the Magic Pencil #1 from Reverie Publications, Toby is also charged with the responsibility of caring for their father’s portfolio. It contains the living entities of his life’s work. Watched by a group of neighbouring mobsters, Toby immediately sets out to create his first character, Top Hat. Toby and his family are set upon by the mobsters, hungry for the magical pencil. Toby hastily sketches a superhero to save his father, then a fire breathing dragon to save himself. Trying to escape, Garth frantically battles Toby for the pencil, accidentally breaking it into two unique halves. Garth draws a porthole door, and leaps through with Toby and Top Hat in close pursuit. They find themselves in a very strange land with very different rules, hunted by the same dragon but now feels abandoned.
Gary and Dillon collaborated well throughout Toby & the Magic Pencil with Dillon’s artwork and command over visual layout matching the story and remaining consistent throughout. Gary’s writing and control over pace works together nicely to showcase the story and capture a young reader. This first issue is to some extent “exposition heavy” setting up the world and the foundation characters. Within a few pages, the story does indeed kick off.
Once the characters are established, the reader can be drawn into this world and the sibling rivalry as they battle for responsibility over the magic pencils, and pursue clues to their mother’s whereabouts. Along the way, they do neglect responsibility for their own creations.
All in all, a simple yet pleasantly entertaining read especially for young readers aged from approximately 10-12 years, based on themes, artwork style and dialogue. A good place to start a young reader, give it a go!
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