The Day the Crayons Quit

I read a gorgeous post this morning about the importance of picture books. It’s here and you should read it! I imagine that, as you are reading this blog, you already believe that picture books are wonderful inspiring things that teach children (and adults) so very much. But read it anyway because it will make your heart glow and it covers so many diverse ideas that it might make you think ‘yes! *that’s* why I love picture books so much and *that* is why I believe in them.’ It might even inspire you.

One of the points in the post is about how picture books introduce children to a love of art. Yes! And the quality and variety of art on offer in picture books today is outstanding. Think about what children can pick up from a picture book. Visual thinking skills. Understanding how to look at and ‘read’ art. Understanding how pictures can tell a story and work with a text. Appreciating art and all it’s wonderfully varied forms and styles.

And picture books can inspire children’s own creativity and encourage them to make their own art too. Take The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers as an example.


This book is about a boy’s crayons going on strike and leaving him letters of complaint. They have been underused, overworked or entirely ignored. They have been stripped of their wrappers, forced to colour the same pictures over and over again and they have had enough. It’s a brilliant concept! What would crayons say if they could talk? What do crayons think about the way they are used? What do they want?

Poor Duncan just wants to do some colouring, but the protest letters from his crayons make him think about the way he uses them and he creates a picture that is very different from his normal work.

Simple, yet brilliant! I love this book! It’s laugh out loud funny, it’s zany, it’s clever, it’s different. And it will make children think about art and creativity in a different way, from a different angle. Yes, at school they are probably asked or expected to colour in an elephant grey or a sun yellow (or orange!) but why should that always be the case? Why not throw your crayons in the air and caution to the wind and experiment with different colours? What happens if you colour the sun blue? What happens if the sky is yellow? Is the sky ever yellow?

This book could inspire some great art and some great creative thinking. I’d like to take it into a year 1 classroom with a lovely new box of crayons for each child and see what they came up with. I bet it would be magical. And I bet it would make us all think differently!

Source: kindly sent for review by Harpercollins


5 thoughts on “The Day the Crayons Quit

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  1. The Day The Crayons Quit is a lovely book. I felt so sorry for the grey and black crayons! And thanks for sharing Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s wonderful post about the value of picture books. Her point about them encouraging listening – in an enjoyable way – is so important because well-developed listening and attention skills are at the root of all other learning but I don’t think this is widely understood. But I don’t want to harp on too much about learning value – fun and pleasure are SO important in themselves and get missed out a bit these days. As the crayons are trying to tell us!

    1. Lovely comment, thank you. And I completely agree, learning how to listen is so important and picture books support and teach all the skills needed to become a great listener and learner.

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