Saturday, November 16, 2013

30 Days of Picture Books - The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

It's Day 9 of our 30 Days of Picture Books. Tonight's post is going up a bit later than normal because we were gone most of the day to a friend's birthday party. I must say, it's quite nice to have other adoptive families in our lives, and especially nice that our boys, all within 6 months of another, get along really well. Today was cupcakes, pizza and a major bounce house - what else do a bunch of 4 and 5 year olds need to have a fun day??!?

Our pick today is one that was a birthday gift to Sprout from one of the coolest folks we know (you know who you are, Auntie S.). She works at a book wholesaler and so we know a package from this auntie is going to be full of some bookish goodness. She didn't disappoint with this pick, The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. It's every bit as fun as you'd think a book about crayons could be, and then some.

The title tells the story in a nutshell - one day Duncan reaches for his colors and discovers that the crayons have gone on strike. It all starts with Red, who is a bit stressed out from being in very heavy rotation, as colors go. Purple's upset that his color seems to be going outside the lines. Black is fed up that he's just used for outlines, Yellow and Orange are feuding over who is the best color for the sun, and Pink feels underused. Each color has its own unique complaint, and each writes Duncan an impassioned letter pleading its case. Duncan, fortunately, takes all the issues into consideration, and at last comes up with a solution that's the perfect display of each color's palette.

Oliver Jeffers does an amazing job of personifying the crayons themselves, manifesting in his drawings each of the complex range of emotions that Daywalt's text brings out. Each spread features not only the color who has written the letter in question, but also an example of Duncan's drawings that *illustrates* (like that artsy pun, there?) the problem at hand. We like White the best, I think; its complaint, as you might expect, has to do with going unnoticed, and is captured nicely within its letter -- written, of course, on black paper.

The Day the Crayons Quit is best for older preschoolers, just so that they understand the point of the story. It took a bit for Sprout to get the jokes here, as the humor is somewhat meta in nature. But once he did, he thought it was hilarious that the crayons had opinions and feelings. And I notice that ever since we first read it, he's a little more even-handed with his colors, making sure that everyone gets a turn.

Coincidence? Maybe, or maybe Sprout's just trying to prevent his own crayon walkout!

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, published by Philomel Books

1 comment:

PragmaticMom said...

I've so many great things about this picture book but haven't read it yet. Sounds really fun. WIll have to stake it out at a bookstore! Thanks Sprout and Auntie S!