Authors love to go through phases- at one point, vampires were the book topic of choice, followed by a run-through of every mythical beast or creature you could imagine. In children’s picture story books, the phases aren’t quite as clear as in young adult fiction, but it appears that prolific author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers has started a trend- for crayons, no less. Here are three picture storybooks that feature crayons as the main characters…
The Day The Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers
It’s tough work being a crayon, and sometimes you don’t always get the recognition or gratitude you deserve. Nobody believes this more firmly than Duncan’s crayons, and they’re more than willing to tell him about it! All poor Duncan wants to do is some colouring in, but when he goes to open his crayon box, all he finds are a series of letters addressed to him. On reading the letters, he discovers that all of his crayons have quit for one reason or another- some are being overworked, some are not getting used at all, some are disgruntled about only being used for certain things, while others are complaining about getting stripped naked or turned into stumps. Two of them have even stopped speaking to one another because they’re in disagreement and they need Duncan to settle the matter once and for all! How is Duncan going to solve their problems and get his crayons onside again? Not only does this book teach about respect and purpose, but it is also clever and amusing, and is sure to get a laugh from children and adults alike.
Rating: 4/5 Published: July 2013
Crayon – Simon Rickerty
The age-old battle of red versus blue is brought to life in this slightly unusual book, when two little dot creatures decide to colour in with a couple of crayons. With the red creature wielding a blue crayon and the blue creature wielding a red crayon, the two are content to scribble away on their respective pages. But then the red creature crosses a line- both figuratively and literally- when he scribbles on his friend’s page. Suddenly it’s all-out war, which leads to some dire consequences for their friendship, especially when a new character is introduced. With several other crayon shades brought into the mix, children can learn all about colours, friendship and the art of sharing.
Rating: 2.5/5 Published: January 2014
Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall
For some people it can be difficult to find a sense of identity. You may be brought up to believe certain values, even if they don’t really gel with your way of thinking, or you may be expected to behave in particular ways- ways that are contrary to how you wish to live your life. This is the dilemma that Red- a humble crayon- faces in this unique picture story book on identity and self. Red has a factory-applied label which clearly states that he is red, but no matter how hard he tries, he is unable to fit the role of a red crayon. When he draws strawberries and hearts and other red items, they never turn out the way they are meant to. When he works together with other coloured crayons to create drawings, the blended colours are all wrong. The other crayons (including his family and friends) want to help- even the art supplies have opinions and possible solutions- but nothing seems to work. Then he makes a new friend- Berry crayon- who offers him a fresh new perspective on his life, thus opening a world of opportunities. This book is a great tool for teaching children that sometimes we need to break pre-conceived moulds of what is expected of us, and embrace change. More importantly, it teaches us that we shouldn’t always judge someone by the way that they’re labelled.