Friday, May 27, 2016

The Day the Crayons Quit (Drew Daywalt)

TitleThe Day the Crayons Quit      

Author:  Drew Daywalt

Illustrator:  Oliver Jeffers

Target Ages: 2-6

First Lines:  “One day in class, Duncan went to take out his crayons and found a stack of letters with his name on them.”

Publisher Summary:  “Poor Duncan just wants to color.  But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing:  We quit!  Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown.  Blue needs a break from coloring all the water, while Pink just wants to be used.  Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other.  What is Duncan to do?” 

Evaluation:  Readers will never look at a box of crayons the same way!  Each crayon has a personality and a problem, making for a humorous and imaginative read.  The letters are written in crayon using a child-like handwriting.  The pictures sprinkle a little digital art in, but they mostly look like something a child drew and color. This approach to storytelling is engaging and inventive.  I highly recommend The Day the Crayons Quit and its sequel The Day the Crayons Came Home.

The Day the Crayons Came Home Publisher Summary:  “Boy, Duncan’s crayons sure are a colorful bunch of characters.  Having soothed the hurt feelings to one group who threated to quit, Duncan now faces a whole new group of crayons asking to be rescued.  From Maroon Crayon, who was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broken in two after Dad sat on him; to Turquoise, whose head is now stuck to one of Duncan’s stinky socks after they ended up in the dryer together—each crayon has a woeful tale to tell and a plea to be brought home to the crayon box.” 

Activities and Extension Ideas for Lesson Plans:

Younger Students
  • Identify the colors.
  • Discuss the colors of objects both on the page and in real life.
  • Point out the parts of a letter (greeting, body, salutation, signature).
  • Write a letter to someone/something together—either imaginatively or realistically.
  • Practice the proper way to care for and to store crayons and other supplies.
Older Students
  • Practice the letter-writing format by writing to a friend or family member.
  • Write an imaginative letter from the perspective of a crayon color, other household object, or character.
  • Teach about the literary technique of personification and use these books to apply the concept to.
  • Read through each letter carefully.  Pick one character quality or emotion that each color depicts like sassy, optimistic, frustrated, or sad.
  • Identify the tone of each letter and how the author creates it.
  • Evaluate the problem that each crayon has and how it is solved (see Duncan’s new picture).
  • Take a class survey on one or more aspects such as the color each student uses most and/or which letter is their favorite.  Make a class graph that depicts the responses.
Visit Susanna Hill for Perfect Picture Book Friday where you will find suggestions from around the web for story time in your classroom or home.


  1. Such an adorable and funny book! I loved it!

  2. Amazing how long this one has been on the NYT bestseller list!


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