Allison's Book Bag

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Posted on: February 11, 2015

Adorable! There is no other way to describe The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. From the handwritten letters by the crayons, the child-like illustrations, and even the artistic credit, this debut picture book is a delight. No wonder it placed number on the New York best-selling list!

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing: His crayons have had enough! From this simple storyline comes a tale that will make you look at crayons from a whole new perspective. Red crayon feels overworked. Purple crayon is upset to never stay inside the line. Beige wants to stop being compared to brown. Grey would like for once to color small objects, say baby penguins, instead of elephants, hippos, rhinos, and whales. Only one crayon out of a box of twelve is happy. That makes for a lot of imagination on the part of Daywalt to come up with eleven reasons for crayons to quit. Each complaint feels justified too, which just might leave you feeling sorry for those crayons we all so glibly use. It might also cause you to wonder how in the world Duncan will make his crayons happy. The solution is just as creative as the rest of this original story that will appeal to children young and old.


As much as I enjoyed the plot, the illustrations are what really sold me on The Day the Crayons Quit. Each spread shows a hand-written letter and crayon-drawn illustrations. The letters are written on a variety of papers, all of the kind you’d expect to find in a child’s world. There’s blank paper, lined paper, grid paper, and colored paper. Some are ripped or crumpled, others have folds and creases. There’s even paper with smudges. As for the text, besides being naturally printed with crayons, is also written with child appeal. Some words are all caps, other words are a mix of small and big letters, and there is even some cursive thrown in for good measure. (However, I should note that in contrast the spelling and punctuation are amazingly accurate.) Finally, there are the drawings themselves. Imagine refrigerator art or kindergarten art and you have the right visual. The art is quick, rough, bold, and thick. It took me back to childhood days and made me want to find my old crayons.

As I read reviews of The Day the Crayons Quit, some noted that the complaints of the crayons get old and so were not happy with the plot. Yes, this is a potential flaw. At the same time, I also feel amazed at how many creative ideas this picture book could inspire. One of my own is to introduce this book to my own students as a way to write opinion pieces. Kids can be notorious whiners themselves and so this book will give them a focused way to vent. Beyond that, the Reading is Fundamental site has a five-page PDF booklet full of more ideas. Check it out: A RIF Guide for Educators.

A few months ago, our local bookstore was selling autographed copies of The Day the Crayons Quit (along with other titles). Now I regret passing up the chance at this purchase. I predict it to have a long-shelf live!

My rating? Bag it: Carry it with you. Make it a top priority to read.

How would you rate this book?

3 Responses to "The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt"

This book does look totally adorable! I’ll add it to my list–thank you for sharing!

Other teachers I know have also really liked this book. I hope you enjoy it too!

Thank you! I have a feeling I will!

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