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Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt. Pictures by Oliver Jeffers. Philomel, Penguin. 2013. $19.00 ages 5 and up

"Dear Duncan,
You color with me, but why?
Most of the time I'm the
same color as the page
you are using me on -
If I didn't have a black
outline, you wouldn't even
know I was THERE!
I'm not even in the rainbow."

When Duncan sits down to put crayon to paper and draw something very special,  he is in for a big surprise. Instead of the crayons he's looking for, he is faced with a box full of letters addressed to him.

The first is a taste of what's to come:

"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
strawberries and EVERYTHING
ELSE that's RED..."

Are you with me? Each new letter brings a new complaint, and their own good reasons for refusing to work with Duncan any longer. They want a lot of changes to be made. Duncan is speechless...he had no idea! It doesn't take long until he is able to really hear their complaints, and find a solution. He uses his head, and a lot of color, to create just what the doctor (well, crayon box) orders.

You know that I a huge fan of Oliver Jeffers and his amazing artwork. Using pencil, paint and crayon, he brings Drew Daywalt's witty text to glorious life. Mr. Daywalt gives each one of the crayons its own personality and voice. Oliver Jeffers uses all of his incredible talent to bring them to life on the facing page. His art is full of energy and droll wit. Red drips perspiration, in keeping with her much overworked persona. Grey is overwhelmed by the amount of energy used to color an elephant, a rhino, and a hippo when he could be coloring rocks and pebbles. And, so it goes. They honor the kids who love drawing (and who seem to have created this artwork themselves...perfectly).

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