The Day The Crayons Quit Paperback – 31 Jul 2014
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From the Publisher
The Day The Crayons Quit
Poor Duncan just wants to colour in. But when he opens his box of crayons, he only finds letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!
Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other.
The battle lines have been drawn. What is Duncan to do?
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One page letters, written by some disgruntled crayons...to their unsuspecting young owner, Duncan, to make a point (well several points, really)...before they QUIT!
Using the current trend of ‘adult colouring-in’ as an excuse, this book was bought for a very grown up child.
Don’t get me wrong...this is most definitely aimed at children but, reading between the lines, it has that humour that could appeal to any age group, mainly because the ‘moans’ are just so true. For a younger audience, the simple expressions on the faces of the crayons speak volumes and give scope for further discussion...beyond the tale.
Measuring in around 25.25 cm square, this paperback book has inner flap extensions with a summary of the story on the front one and, on the back, information about the author: DREW DAYWALT & the illustrator: OLIVER JEFFERS, of LOST and FOUND fame, nonchalantly mentioned, upside-down on the front cover of this book!
Written as a young hand might; sometimes in capitals, sometimes with a loop, sometimes with a scribble out, and, generally, on a slant despite any lines, the story begins on the covers with a hint of just what might be inside...with some militant-looking crayons!
Spanning 31 pages, between the beginning and the ending, are the 'letters' to Duncan, each one on the left-hand page, accompanied by a relevant picture on the right-hand page, illustrating the crayon’s colour and the particular grievance. Generally, this is a whinge about over-use, under-use, misrepresentation, mediation, lack of cover(!)...sometimes even a dig about another crayon’s ‘job’!
There are 12 colours in all, in order of appearance:
‘Well, poor Duncan just wanted to colour...and of course he wanted his crayons to be happy.
And that gave him an idea....’
At the end, a compromise is reached and ‘everything’ is happy ever after.
The plot of the book involves Duncan discovering one day that his crayons had written him letters - one letter from each colour - to let him know what they think. A couple of the colours are happy and want to thank Duncan. But on the whole, the crayons are not happy. So about 80-90% of the book is whining. Exactly what I want to teach my children NOT to do. It is somewhat cute and funny for an adult, and might be appreciated by an older child, but I personally (this is my personal opinion) did not think this would be helpful for my young children. I also did not like some of the tone of the book - for example "I HATE being used to draw the outside of things" (black crayon). 'Hate' is a very strong word and one which I really like to avoid in children's books. And "You're KILLING ME!" which seems a bit strong for a child's book. Yes, some parts were quite funny, but again, I personally did not think the language and tone would be helpful for my little kids to emulate. Ultimately in this book, we have the created (crayons) dictating to the creator (Duncan). The letters from the crayons inspire Duncan to draw a very creative picture, using the colours as they have asked. His creativity is rewarded with a '"good work" sticker for coloring...and a gold star for creativity". Talk about damaging the child's intrinsic motivation!
I think the humour in this book means that it will appeal to a slightly older picture book audience - I have found it ideal to read aloud to a Reception class and it would be enjoyed by any child from approx 4 - 8. In that way, it reminds me of Man on the Moon for a sense of ironic humour which will be enjoyed by children of a slightly older age then the usual picture book target audience. Great to read aloud and may well become a classic.
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I would expect it to be less repetitive (almost all crayons are either worn out or unused) and the ending stronger but if my daughter enjoys reading...Read more