One day Duncan goes to get his crayons out of his desk, and where they should be he finds a stack of letters addressed to him, written in crayon. They are letters from his crayons, and they all have complaints about how he is using them (or not using them.) Red feels overworked, purple wishes Duncan would try harder to color within the lines, orange and yellow are in dispute over which of them is the real color of the sun, and pink calls Duncan out for thinking it is only a girl’s color. Duncan just wants to color a picture. What is he going to do about all these grievances?
This is a really funny book, both in the text and the illustrations. Oliver Jeffers is the perfect illustrator for this book. Each crayon epistle is completely rendered on what appear to be various real sheets of paper, and the accompanying depictions of Duncan’s crayon illustrations are some of the best fake kid drawings done by an adult you will ever see. This book is not only extremely entertaining, but it could be used to kickstart an art activity and get slightly older students who are getting stuck in their ways thinking about the conventions of coloring and how to be more creative and diverse with their use of color. The pages in which Yellow Crayon and Orange Crayon site references from Duncan’s coloring book as evidence to support their claims are an especially nice touch that could be used to demonstrate debate tactics or persuasive writing. For these and other reasons you have to get this one into your school’s picture book collection.
Review by Joshua Whiting, Granite District Library Specialist
Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
Interest Level: Grades K-4
The Day the Crayons Quit
Written by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Philomel / Penguin Group
Release Date: June 27, 2013
ISBN: 9780399255373 (hardcover)