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Pencil Play Book

Date: 1974
Publisher: Western Publishing Company, Inc. / Small World Enterprises



The Pencil Play Book includes over sixty pages of wonderfully creative activities for children. The back cover of the book reads:

This is one of a series of products developed in cooperation with Fred M. Rogers, creator of "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood," the award-winning public television program for children. Both the program and the materials based on it encourage children to be themselves, to imagine, to create, to cope with feelings and new ideas -- and through all these things, to learn and to grow.

For quiet times, when space and attention span may both be limited, a book of pencil-and-paper activities provides a wide choice of things to do. The special feature of this book is that it gives options for children to do each activity in the way that they would like to do them. Most of the activities are for children between the ages of 4 and 6.

Before taking a look at some of the specific activities in this book, there are a few interesting illustrations to look at. First, have you ever wondered what the inside of Daniel's clock looks like? While the picture below may not be a to-scale drawing of what the mechanical side of the clock may look like, it still provides something fun to consider.

King Friday was rarely, if ever, seen without his crown -- or at least some sort of hat -- on his head. One page in this activity book shows us what King Friday's royal hair style may have looked like under his kingly crown.


In the many illustrated publications from the Neighborhood, it is quite uncommon to find a drawing of one of the human characters. Below we see Mr. McFeely riding his bicycle down a "funny street."


The cover of the Pencil Play Book features Daniel, X, and Henrietta working on actual activities from this book. As you can see, Daniel is piecing together the Rockit factory puzzle while Henrietta is busy coloring the picture of Grandpere out to dinner (with a spoonless King Friday on the opposite page). It is unclear what X is working on as the image on his page does not clearly match any of the pages in the book.


Some of the activities require a bit more than a pencil to complete. For example, in the activity seen below, Lady Elaine wants to wear a mask for Halloween. Printed on the back side of this page is a black mask which becomes visible when held up to the light. Run your mouse over the image to the left to see Lady Elaine in costume.


Another multi-page activity involves a visitor to X's tree. By cutting the door on the dotted line, children are able to see to the next page which shows X's "forest friend." Place your mouse over the image to the left to open the door.


Finally, the last activity in the book requires a very simple cut and fold of the page to place a hat on the head of X the Owl. Place your mouse on the first image below to see X wearing his hat.


Appearing In This Book

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Corner image by Spencer Fruhling. Used with permission.
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