Casting a box of crayons as the protagonists of a picture book is pure genius. After all, there’s probably a box (or more) of these long-suffering sticks (or stumps) sitting in every preschooler’s home and/or classroom, which translates to instant relatability.
Most of the text in The Day the Crayons Quit is delivered in the form of surprisingly astute and funny-because-it’s-oh-so-true complaint letters (beautifully hand-lettered by Oliver Jeffers) from each individual crayon, all addressed to a hapless unseen kid named Duncan and which lightly poke fun at some of the pervasive colouring clichés and stereotypes that many, if not most, kids (and grown-ups) tend to fall into.
The personification of something so commonly used (and abused) by kids also has the happy side-effect of making them rethink their colouring habits, and deters them from, say, tearing off the protective wrapping on each crayon — case in point, the plight of the poor peach crayon!
Perfectly complementing the witty text is Oliver Jeffers’s exuberant and imaginative illustrations, which not only bring out each crayon’s distinct personality, but also imbue every page with colour, humour and child-like enthusiasm.
If the creators of this book have their way, you’ll surely never look at crayons — or colour with them — the same way again!