The reputation of The Day The Crayons Quit, by written Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers precedes it. You will find it ensconced in reading lists of children’s best books and book blogs. Is it warranted? Yes, dear reader a 101%. Prepare to be delighted, amused and enthralled in turns.
The premise of the book is simple but ingenious. Duncan, the owner of a box of crayons, finds a stack of letters addressed to him in place of his crayons that he goes to get.
He opens each letter to find that they are from different crayons. Each crayon in its message has issues to raise, thanks to give and recommendations to make.
Purple crayon, the finicky one who probably suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is unable to suffer the colouring out of the line any longer.
White feels unattended and not particularly useful. Orange has left, thanks mainly due to his ongoing feud with yellow on which colour the sun is – yellow or orange?
Black wants to be more than outline Beige feels underused, red feels overworked as does grey. Green is pleased as punch and blue well, has lost a lot of himself for Duncan. Pink would like to work more and Peach has a peculiar problem.
Daywelt through the letters digs deep to reveal the box of contradictions that we all are. Part happy, part dissatisfied part hopeful and part endearing. Duncan seems like a God of crayons, fully powered to grant or not, each of the wishes and entreaties aimed at him. And indeed he does. Duncan listens and considers each of his dear crayons’ letters and makes the most glorious picture, fulfilling requests. He earns a gold star for creativity, no less.
The amazing letters are juxtaposed with Oliver Jeffers design which catapults the book to the stratosphere of superb. The crayon drawings have been made by children. Their names acknowledged at the back of the book -Freida, Leni, Mia, Shay, Peadar, Logan and Ewan.
The book explores the idea that variances, differences outweigh a preference of the same any day. The letters open Duncans eyes to this beauty in diversity, and he finds a way to include and express himself creatively.
It also introduces the idea of expressing dissent and finding methods and words to express them. It shows to the young child, without explicitly saying so that there are different ways of expressing dissent. The letters also contain words of high praise and satisfaction for Duncan. The young reader will enjoy this personality formation through words, rather than of physical form. Reading and writing to express thoughts and concerns come through powerfully in the crayon letters.
The Day The Crayons Quit, will become a household favourite, beckoning you time and again to visit it.