Upon my return from my trip I had two packages waiting for me. One contained these:
The Laddie is Dixon's "mini-jumbo" pencil. It's slightly larger than the typical no. 2, with a thicker graphite core, but not nearly as big as the "My First Pencil" Ticonderogas. I haven't tried those out yet, but I think I'd probably find them too wide, as my handwriting can be on the small size.
I love the Laddie. It sits very comfortably in the hand, and Ticonderoga markets this product not only to school-age kids learning cursive, but to "those who like a slightly larger pencil." I'm not sure this would replace the other pencils I use on a daily basis, but yesterday at work it was the only pencil I used.
The core is extremely dark, sharpens to a nice point in my Carl CC-2000, and maintains that point, due to the thickness of the graphite. Of course, given how wide the core is, if you're one of those people who insists on having a super-sharp pencil point all the time, you may find yourself sharpening frequently. I didn't mind so much, as I made sure to rotate the pencil from time to time to maintain the point. It's somewhat unusual how smooth and dark these pencils are, given that they are made in Dixon's Mexico factory. My past experience with Mexican-made Ticonderogas have been mixed. The graphite typically is not as smooth and dark as the Chinese-made version. These pencils, however, are excellent.
Martin, one of the readers here, originally sent me a Laddie in a pencil trade. They come in two varieties: with eraser, and without. I enjoyed the eraserless version so much that I couldn't help but order a dozen with erasers included. The erasers are larger versions of the normal Ticonderoga eraser, and do a nice job. I have no complaints there.
My only knock on the Laddie is that they are somewhat difficult to find. Stores don't carry them, at least around me, and I had a heck of a time finding them on Amazon with Prime shipping included, but eventually I did. (Update - As of my last check, only the Laddie Tri-Write is Prime-eligible as a stand-alone item. You can still find good deals on the standard Laddie as an add-on item.) I hope Dixon is not going to quit making them, because if they are, I'm going to have to buy myself a gross.