Review: The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Child’s Play is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I review picture books, chapter books, and middle grade books for the young and the young at heart.

Title The Day The Crayons Quit
Author Drew Daywalt
Published June 27th, 2013 by Philomel
Pages 36 Pages
Intended Target Audience Children
Genre & Keywords Picture Book, Humour, Art, Fantasy
Part of a Series? No
Source & Format Purchased from Chapters, Hardcover
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChapters

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: We quit!

Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown. Blue needs a break from coloring 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.

What is Duncan to do? Debut author Drew Daywalt and New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers create a colorful solution in this playful, imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way.

“Well, poor Duncan just wanted to colour…and of course he wanted his crayons to be happy. And that gave him an idea.”

All Duncan wants to do is colour. But when he opens his trusty box of crayons one fateful day to find the crayons have gone on strike, Duncan’s at a loss. What’s a boy to do? As the story progresses, each crayon begins to air their list of grievances, and there are plenty to be had! Red is overworked, Pink feels pigeonholed, and Yellow and Orange simply can’t get along! It quickly becomes clear that if Duncan has any hope of returning to his favourite pastime, he’ll have to come up with a very creative, and colourful, solution.

Hi there! My name’s Jen, and I love to colour. One might think that as a mature, educated twenty-five-year-old university graduate, I might feel some sense of shame or embarrassment at admitting this, but I don’t. No, really! While I don’t find myself colouring as much anymore, I still break out my trusty box of Crayola crayons from time to time. It helps me to decompress and my mind to wander when I’m trying to work through a particularly difficult problem, and, quite frankly, it’s a lot of fun! And while this pastime might earn me a few odd stares or the occasional teasing from my friends and family, I don’t mind because I know the truth: They simply don’t know what they’re missing! So, given all of this, you can therefore imagine my excitement when I first heard of Drew Daywalt’s The Day The Crayons Quit, the children’s picture book that has been taking the publishing world by storm. Winner of the Best Picture Book category in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2013, The Day The Crayons Quit is an enchanting, magical story that will delight and amuse readers of all ages. Whether you’re two, twelve, or twenty-three, there’s something in this timeless tale for everyone that will warm your heart and have you conversing with your crayons in no time!

In addition to an absolutely delightful storyline that would make even the Grinch grin, The Day The Crayons Quit comes equipped with a very beautiful, and relevant, series of themes that might help to facilitate a dialogue between parents and their children as they read along together. As silly as it might sound, many of the crayon’s complaints are not unlike those we hear from our friends and family on a regular basis. Some crayons feel under-appreciated while others feel over-worked. The crayon’s roles are not equal – White, Black and Pink feel marginalized, while the primary colours, Green, Blue, and Red monopolize much of the work, for better or worse. Duncan must think outside of the box in order to come up with a solution to his very particular problem, and in the process teaches children not only about problem solving techniques but the importance of equality and inclusiveness.

Illustrated throughout by the talented and ingenious artist, Oliver Jeffers, the accompanying illustrations in The Day The Crayons Quit are nothing short of divine. Jeffers perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Daywalt’s work and imbues each individual crayon with a sparkling personality and charisma that causes them to fairly leap off the page. What I appreciated most about Jeffers’ work is that he tailored each illustration to best compliment the story Daywalt was attempting to tell. Nowhere is this more evident than in the artist’s rendering of the white crayon’s story, who is expressing ennui about his somewhat limited role. Used primarily for snow and the empty space between more dominant colours, Jeffers devises a brilliant scheme to highlight the crayon to best effect. The result is a simple and understated image that, while not complicated in concept, stole my heart and remains one of my favourite of the entire book.

Are you searching for the perfect book to buy your child this holiday season? Well, look no further! The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt is the perfect gift for the young and the young at heart on your Christmas list this year. Smart, witty, and absolutely adorable with a touching message that emphasizes the importance of creativity, problem solving and inclusiveness, The Day The Crayons Quit is a story that’s fun for the whole family, and one which parents won’t tire of reading to their children again and again. If pure joy were encapsulated in a single volume, it would undoubtedly be found in The Day The Crayons Quit. I can’t recommend this book strongly enough and urge each and every one of my readers to purchase a copy as soon as they possibly can. I promise you won’t regret it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some colouring to do. Bring me my Crayolas!

7 Responses

  1. Great review, Jen!! I love that you took it to a deeper level and related it to the way people often feel – definitely a great discussion for parents and their children to have. 🙂 We love this book so much and any time we have the opportunity to gift a book- we choose this one!! I am so happy it won Best Picture Book– well deserved! By the way, I’m with you on coloring. I have an easy excuse to do it often since I have the baby bettys, but even before I had them, my mom still put a coloring book in my stocking every year! haha
    Betty recently posted…Random Rantings: Messy Blogging – Is There a Cure?My Profile

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Jen is a thirty-something Canadian book blogger and bibliophile currently residing in the wilds of suburbia. Aside from a penchant for older men, particularly those with the surnames Firth, Elba and Norton, Jen is also passionately interested in running, Mad Men, and Marilyn Monroe. In addition to being a voracious reader and self-proclaimed television addict, Jen is also an aspiring children and youth services librarian who would like to pursue a MLIS and better help readers find the perfect book for them.

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