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A Truly Colorful Crayon Tale

51E7nP9Xi-L._SX225_Hitting shelves this June is The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel Books; $17.99; ages 3-8). Reviewer Rita Zobayan couldn’t peel herself away!

Art comes to life in the delightful new picture book. Duncan simply wants to color, but a stack of 12 letters in his school desk reveals that his crayons have feelings and opinions on not only his use of color, but also on their own relationships with each other. Poor Pink is tired of being relegated as only a “girls’ color” and demands usage! Green is quite content with its lot in life, but is worried about other crayons. Blue is appreciative, but exhausted from coloring oceans and skies. And, boy-oh-boy, will your child laugh out loud when Peach’s dilemma is revealed!

Humor, imagination, and a great sense of children’s language combine to make up the content of the letters, and each letter is cleverly illustrated in a child’s handwriting style. Here is Red Crayon’s communication to Duncan:

Hey Duncan,

It’s me, Red Crayon. We NEED to talk. You make me work harder than any of your other crayons. All year long I wear myself out coloring fire engines, apples, strawberries and EVERYTHING ELSE that’s RED. I even work on holidays! I have to color all the Santas at Christmas and all the hearts on Valentine’s Day! I NEED A REST!

                  Your overworked friend,

Red Crayon

Meanwhile, Yellow and Orange are feuding! Yellow states that Duncan needs to “tell Orange Crayon that I am the color of the sun…” and Orange fires back that Duncan should “please tell Mr. Tattletale that he IS NOT the color of the sun.” Both have coloring book evidence to prove their claims! What is Duncan to do?!

TheDaytheCrayonsQuit_interior_19The illustrations are spot on: you really believe that you’re looking at a child’s art. They creatively capture each of the crayons’ dilemmas—even Purple’s assertion that if Duncan doesn’t “start coloring inside the lines soon…I am going to COMPLETELY LOSE IT.”

The Day the Crayons Quit is a great read, and artist or not, children will delight in the humorous premise and colorful artwork.

For other Oliver Jeffers books, click here. Click the titles for our reviews of Stuck and This Moose Belongs to Me.

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Counting and Colors The BabyLit Classics Way

Today Karen B. Estrada weighs in on the incredibly cool BabyLit board book series from Gibbs Smith ($9.99, ages 1 and up).

As an English teacher, I was excited when I saw the BabyLit series and happened upon the Little Master Stoker and Little Master Dickens books. I was not sure quite what to expect from these durable cardboard baby books which purport to introduce young children to classic literature; to be honest, I was skeptical. But when the books arrived, I was instantly delighted.

In Little Master Stoker’s Dracula: A BabyLit Counting Primer  and Little Master Dickens’s A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer, author Jennifer Adams and artist Alison Oliver creatively summarize key elements of two classic works of literature. The “art” in these books is just that—scenes that go beyond simple illustration. In Dracula, edgy double-page spreads

utilizing a red, purple, black, gray, and white color palate make the 19th century classic seem contemporary and fresh. The story begins with “1 castle” and moves through counting up to 10 using relevant and important aspects of the actual novel. While the book does not really tell the story of Dracula—not that it is a story you’d want to read to your infant or toddler anyway—it offers enough details to familiarize them somewhat with elements of the story. When your child comes across Dracula again as a teen or an adult, perhaps he will recall the 1 castle and 2 friends who read 7 letters and diaries in the Little Master Stoker book he read as a child.

In A Christmas Carol: A BabyLit Colors Primer, equally punchy illustrations depict an image in which the color of an object tells the story. While I felt Dracula more closely related to the actual novel, the images and colors in A Christmas Carol will nonetheless provide your child with the same familiarity of this classic work of literature. Share the story now with your  youngster to foster an appreciation for Dickens’ complete version in the future. In other words, if you are looking for some wonderful, timeless holiday reading that is appropriate for your child who is just learning numbers and colors, check out the Baby Lit Little Masters series by Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver. Like the original novels, these books should be on your shelves!


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A Bright New Approach To Learning Colors From Pantone



Today’s review was written by Ronna Mandel

My uncle was an art director for a big New York department store almost 50 years ago and, as a child, I loved checking out everything on his desk from markers and tracing paper to inks and special artist’s pens. The first time I saw Pantone colors had to be in the early ’60s in my uncle’s studio, probably not long after their launch in 1963. Now with the publication of a new board book called  PANTONE: Colors ($9.95,  AbramsAppleseed, ages 1 and up), I can once again enjoy this marvelous array of colors in the signature style so universally recognizable. In fact, I am sure that just looking at the bright, bold pictures in the most wonderful colors and shades will bring hours of pleasure to you and your children.

This first-color book will delight little ones as they turn from page to page and explore colors in such a unique way.  Experience shades of yellow with a lion, orange with a fish, red with a wagon, pink with a piggy bank plus 5 other colors you’ll not want to miss including my all-time fave, purple.  Every page contains 20 shades that will lead to lots of interesting discussions with children. For example, what a fun discussion can ensue over colors called Peanut Butter Brown, Meatball Brown, Pretzel Brown, Caramel Brown and Barbecue Sauce Brown.  Not only will your mouth water, but comments from kids are certain to be entertaining to say the least!  

Take this book out with you on the town and visit places where you can search for objects similar to colors in the book. Listen to your children explain which colors they like and help them rank them in order of popularity. Watch the colors jump off the page straight into your child’s vocabulary and memory as you introduce blues at the beach, greens at the park and white, gray and black in the supermarket. Bring the book into restaurants, on car trips and watch the time fly by as your child begins looking at the world in a new and colorful way. I can’t wait to see what the exciting Pantone and Abrams Appleseed partnership delivers next.

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