The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quit is a humorous and delightful read-aloud picture book by Drew Daywalt. Written with a clever and original perspective, it is playfully illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. The story begins when a little boy named Duncan opens his crayon box at school one day, only to discover that all his crayons have run away, leaving him notes that explain why they have quit. They complain that some colors feel under used, while others feel over used and worn.  And others, such as the orange and yellow crayons, have started a feud and are no longer speaking, because they both believe they should be the one to color of the sun!

As Duncan reads on, he is confronted with more letters of protest, cleverly written and drawn in each crayon’s color. Unhappy because of overuse, Red feels overwhelmed, while Purple, the neat nick, complaints that Duncan sometimes does not color within the lines, and writes: "If you don't start coloring inside the lines soon, I'm going to lose it." Worn-out Grey is throwing in the towel, since he always gets big jobs like coloring in the whales and elephants, and says” “come on give me a break.”  Ms. White feels neglected, empty, and rather non-existent, complaining that if she didn't have a black outline no one would know she was there, while Black resends just being the "outliner." Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown. Poor little Beige is... tired of being called "light brown" or "dark tan" and wants his own identity. Green seems content, but he too has a complaint that his friends, Orange and Yellow are not speaking to each other, and are driving him crazy.

Stubby Blue’s complaint is that Duncan has used him so much over the last two years and he is so worn down with all Duncan's artistic endeavors that he can no longer see over the box’s edge. Pink accuses Duncan of discriminating against her because she is girly, and suggests that Duncan colors his dinosaurs and monsters with her.  Poor Peach is stripped naked, because Duncan peeled his paper off and is now naked and embarrassed to even come out of the box. When Duncan finishes reading all the letters, he comes to a brilliant conclusion.
Using humor and taking a very creative approach the author creates human personalities for each crayon color. The storyline is very entertaining and also a great tool to teach children inclusion, to think outside the box, and understand feelings and emotions. It also teaches children the meaning of stereotypes. Children will learn that not all dinosaurs are green, or fire engines red.  Do they think of pink only as a girl’s color, or can they learn to incorporate it in new ways in their drawings? This book is playful, imaginative and really unique in both content and approach. It will spark different conversations about colors and creativity, and make children think.

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