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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.

Make Art a Part of Your Every Day Life

Debbie Glade reviews a creative and resourceful book about how to bring art into your child’s life.

Art is Every Day: Activities for the Home, Park, Museum, and City ($16.95, Zephyr Press, Adults) by Eileen S. Prince is your go-to guide for helping your child experience art in every day places. This meaty paperback outlines 65 unique projects for parents, grandparents and teachers to share with the children in their lives.

One of the projects in the book is creating a Photo Design Quilt. Essentially children take photos of patterns they see around the house, print them out on paper and create a quilt-like pattern. A few of the many other ideas include making vegetable prints by cutting veggies and using them like stamps, drawing noises and smells, drawing using only Primary colors and color rubbing leaves you find in a park.

The author writes a nice narrative for every project, explaining what skills that project will teach the child, as well as concepts to discuss with the child. I like the fact that the author suggests ways you might wish to modify the projects. This encourages creative thinking in the child and may inspire them to come up with their very own art projects.

Art is Every Day truly inspires kids to think like an artist no matter where they are. And with a book like this, readers quickly learn that creating art is simple, fun and affordable. After reading it, I felt like weaving paper with the stack of old magazines and catalogs I have.

The only suggestion I have that could make this book better would be adding more color photos.

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