The Day the Crayons Quit – empathy for others (crayons included)

the-day-the-crayons-quit-5With understanding and creativity, Duncan hatches a plan to make his crayons happy again.


Bibliographic Info:  Daywalt, Drew (author), Jeffers, Oliver (illustrator) The Day the Crayons Quit  Penguin (2013)  40pp. Formats: Hardcover ISBN 978-0-399- 25537-3  $12.99, Paperback, Audible Audiobook, Kindle, iBook, App Reading Level/Grade Level Equivalent: 3.8  Interest Level: K-3  Genre: Comedy and Humor    Major Themes:  Colors, Art, Drawing/Coloring, Creativity, Empathy

Summary:  A boy named Duncan opens his box of crayons to color and finds a stack of resignation letters.  In hand-crayoned letter after letter, Duncan’s crayons amicably express their feelings and unique predicaments. With understanding and creativity, Duncan hatches a plan to make his crayons happy again.

StorytimeWow_FinalLogo-1The Day the Crayons Quit was given the StorytimeWOW Marquee Seal on March 19th, 2015.  The book and eBook meet the the StorytimeWOW Standards and have been selected for the PictureBookWOW and Picture eBookWOW collections.  Read the Storytime section below for tips on using this picture book or eBook in your storytime.



Review:  The Day the Crayons Quit is a stroke of genius. It’s one of those rare picture books that will truly make children think about their world in a new way. This wonderful award-winning read aloud, available in both app and eBook formats (for iPad or Kindle), will inspire young listeners to care about their crayons. Playful illustrations portray each crayon’s predicament and effectively cultivate understanding. The book features a creative feel-good ending that will leave listeners more than satisfied.th

Bibliotherapeutic Usefulness: This is a great book to read to young children because it cultivates their ability to see life from other’s perspectives.  Understanding, naming, and expressing feelings are key experiences during the preschool years. This book takes a child’s emotional development a step further by prompting him and her to develop understanding and empathy for others.

Significance:  “The Day the Crayons Quit” is a great tool for new media storytimes!  This is a case where electronic formats create a more beneficial read aloud experience for kids. The book is available as an app and an eBook.

th-1Storytime:  For a theme or lesson plan about colors, “The Day the Crayons Quit” is the new “go to” picture book.  This book is a great example of a case where presenting the eBook on a screen may be more effective than using the printed book.  Each crayon’s resignation letter is an early literacy tool.  Big screens give children the opportunity to see and read each crayon’s unique hand-writing.  Using an electronic format allows storytellers the freedom to point at (or run a finger along) sentences.  Beginning readers can follow along.  Ask kids to name each new crayon (by color) when you turn a page to reveal a new spread.  With a great story, important themes, clever illustrations and built-in participation opportunities, “The Day the Crayons Quit” is a worthwhile group experience.


Read-alikes:  “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus” by Mo Willems is another book that uses humor to elicit empathy for its character.  Both of these stories ask listeners to understand character’s feelings.  And, “Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin is similarly playful, humorous and imaginative.

Links:  Author’s Twitter   Illustrator’s Website   Scholastic   Teaching Ideas   Amazon

Awards:  2013 E. B. White Read Aloud Award Winner, #1 NY Times Bestseller (2013), 2013 Amazon Best Children’s Book, 2014 ALA notable book, Nominated for CBC award (2013)

Other Reviews Links:  ALA Booklist  Goodreads  Kirkus

I chose to review this title because it won the E.B. White Read Aloud Award and I find its fresh premise appealing.

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Written by Tom Schween, founder of storytimeWOW!