Reviews for Day the Crayons Quit

Booklist Reviews 2013 July #1
Duncan's crayons are on strike. One morning he opens his desk looking for them and, in their place, finds a pack of letters detailing their grievances, one crayon at a time. Red is tired. Beige is bored. Black is misunderstood. Peach is naked! The conceit is an enticing one, and although the crayons' complaints are not entirely unique (a preponderance centers around some variation of overuse), the artist's indelible characterization contributes significant charm. Indeed, Jeffers' ability to communicate emotion in simple gestures, even on a skinny cylinder of wax, elevates crayon drawing to remarkable heights. First-class bookmaking, with clean design, ample trim size, and substantial paper stock, adds to the quality feel. A final spread sees all things right, as Duncan fills a page with bright, delightful imagery, addressing each of the crayons' issues and forcing them into colorful cooperation. Kids who already attribute feelings to their playthings will never look at crayons the same way again. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

BookPage Reviews 2013 July
Mind your reds and blues

Poor Duncan. He heads for his crayons one day in class, only to find a stack of letters waiting. He simply wants to color, but instead he has 12 manifestos to read. Little did Duncan know his crayons are beleaguered, bitter and beset with all sorts of headaches.

Purple is about to lose it and would like Duncan to color inside the lines. Black is tired of being used merely for the outlines of things (“how about a BLACK beach ball some time?”), and Pink is tired of limitations (why not a pink dinosaur or cowboy?). Peach wraps it all up with a confession: Since Duncan peeled his paper off, he’s naked and too humiliated to leave the box. There’s much more from the poor, persecuted pieces of wax in author Drew Daywalt’s clever picture book debut, The Day the Crayons Quit.

Each spread shows a crayon’s protest letter on the left and the pontificating crayon on the right. The crayons use Duncan’s drawings to prove their points: Beige wilts in front of a piece of wheat, one of only two things he draws, since Mr. Brown Crayon gets all the fun stuff. In the funniest spread, White Crayon, who feels empty, demonstrates Duncan’s “white cat in the snow,” just two eyes, a mouth, a nose and whiskers in an empty white space.

There’s a lot of humor in Oliver Jeffers’ relaxed, naïf illustrations, made to look like a child’s artwork: a pink monster; Santa Claus on a red fire truck (Red Crayon is tired of working, even on holidays!); and the triumphant, colorful final spread, in which Duncan attempts a piece of art to make all the crayons happy.

Sure to draw in young readers (the crayons demanded I use that pun), this entertaining set of monologues will also tickle their funny bones.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
All Duncan wants to do is color, but the crayons have gone on strike, and they've left Duncan a pile of letters listing their grievances. As the drama unfolds, Jeffers's spare crayon illustrations pop off the white background, adding movement and momentum to the imaginative narrative. The vibrant final spread addressing each color's concerns leaves all parties with an amicable resolution.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2013 #6
All Duncan wants to do is color, but when he opens his box of crayons, he finds himself in the midst of a bitter labor dispute. The crayons have gone on strike, and they've left Duncan a pile of letters listing their grievances. From undervalued beige and pink to overworked red and blue, each crayon's letter clearly states a specific request for a change in working conditions. Even the green crayon, who has no complaints on its own behalf, explains that both yellow and orange, who are no longer speaking to each other, feel they should be the color of the sun. ("Please settle this soon because they're driving the rest of us crazy!") As drama unfolds among the colors, Jeffers's spare crayon illustrations pop off the white background, adding movement and momentum to the imaginative narrative. The personified crayons express such emotion in so few crude strokes, particularly the discouraged beige crayon with its furrowed brow and slumped shoulders, standing forlorn next to a single sprig of wheat (the only thing Duncan uses beige for besides turkey dinners). Photographs of the handwritten letters and coloring book pages establish verisimilitude in an otherwise outrageous premise, which amplifies the comedy. The vibrant final spread addressing each color's concerns leaves all parties with an amicable resolution and readers with a sense of satisfaction. shara l. hardeso Copyright 2013 Horn Book Magazine.

Kirkus Reviews 2013 May #1
Duncan wants to draw, but instead of crayons, he finds a stack of letters listing the crayons' demands in this humorous tale. Red is overworked, laboring even on holidays. Gray is exhausted from coloring expansive spaces (elephants, rhinos and whales). Black wants to be considered a color-in color, and Peach? He's naked without his wrapper! This anthropomorphized lot amicably requests workplace changes in hand-lettered writing, explaining their work stoppage to a surprised Duncan. Some are tired, others underutilized, while a few want official titles. With a little creativity and a lot of color, Duncan saves the day. Jeffers delivers energetic and playful illustrations, done in pencil, paint and crayon. The drawings are loose and lively, and with few lines, he makes his characters effectively emote. Clever spreads, such as Duncan's "white cat in the snow" perfectly capture the crayons' conundrum, and photographic representations of both the letters and coloring pages offer another layer of texture, lending to the tale's overall believability. A comical, fresh look at crayons and color. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection Reviews 2014 January/February
One day Duncan ventures into his desk to retrieve his crayons and finds none, but there is a stack of letters addressed to him. Each double-page spread contains a letter from various colored crayons, along with illustrations that have been drawn or colored with that particular crayon. The crayons each have a complaint for Duncan. Daywalt's clever tale culminates with Duncan's beautiful, colorful use of all the colors into his drawing, which earns him an A+ for creativity and makes all the crayons happy! Jeffers' whimsical, child-like crayon drawings paired with hand-written notes complement Daywalt's clever and unique picture book. This book is a fun read-aloud that will have children asking to have it read again and again. Art teachers and classroom teachers alike will find this title to be a fun exploration into the world of illustration. Amy Merrill, School Librarian and Reading Specialist, Calvin Coolidge Elementary School, Binghamton, New York. RECOMMENDED Copyright 2012 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 April #3

Although the crayons in this inventive catalogue stop short of quitting, most feel disgruntled. The rank and file express their views in letters written to a boy, Duncan. Red complains of having to "work harder than any of your other crayons" on fire trucks and Santas; a beige crayon declares, "I'm tired of being called ‘light brown' or ‘dark tan' because I am neither." White feels "empty" from Duncan's white-on-white coloring, and a "naked" Peach wails, "Why did you peel off my paper wrapping?" Making a noteworthy debut, Daywalt composes droll missives that express aggravation and aim to persuade, while Jeffers's (This Moose Belongs to Me) crayoned images underscore the waxy cylinders' sentiments: each spread features a facsimile of a letter scrawled, naturally, in the crayon's hue; a facing illustration evidences how Duncan uses the crayon, as in a picture of a giant elephant, rhino, and hippo (Gray laments, "That's a lot of space to color in all by myself"). These memorable personalities will leave readers glancing apprehensively at their own crayon boxes. Ages 3-7. Author's agent: Jeff Dwyer, Dwyer & O'Grady. (June)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2013 July

K-Gr 2--In this delightfully imaginative take on a beloved childhood activity, a young boy's crayons have had enough. Fed up with their workload and eager to voice their grievances, they pen letters to Duncan detailing their frustrations. Energetic and off-the-wall, the complaints are always wildly funny, from the neurotically neat Purple ("If you DON'T START COLORING INSIDE the lines soon… I'm going to COMPLETELY LOSE IT") to the underappreciated White ("If I didn't have a black outline, you wouldn't even know I was THERE!"). Daywalt has an instinctive understanding of the kind of humor that will resonate with young children, such as Orange and Yellow duking it out over which of them represents the true color of the sun or Peach's lament that ever since its wrapper has fallen off, it feels naked. Though Jeffers's messily scrawled crayon illustrations are appropriately childlike, they're also infused with a sophisticated wit that perfectly accompanies the laugh-out-loud text; for example, a letter from Beige, in which he bemoans being tasked with drawing dull items like turkey dinners, is paired with an image of the crestfallen crayon drooping over beside a blade of wheat. Later on, Pink grumbles about constantly being passed over for less-feminine colors while the opposite page depicts a discomfited-looking pink monster and cowboy being derided by a similarly hued dinosaur. This colorful title should make for an uproarious storytime and may even inspire some equally creative art projects.--Mahnaz Dar, Library Journal

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