Last month I was lucky enough to meet Oliver Jeffers in London at a signing for The Day the Crayons Quit, his fabulous collaboration with author Drew Daywalt.
Jeffers (much-loved author and illustrator of Lost and Found, The Incredible Book Eating Boy and Heart in a Jar) supplies the illustrations for what is a very clever and funny look at a boy dealing with a crayon box rebellion. The crayons express their dissatisfaction with their lot through a series of letters.
Pink feels underused; Black is sick of only being used as an outline – ‘How about a black beach ball sometime?’ – and Orange and Yellow are quibbling over who is the real colour of the sun.
All of the crayons have their own voices – Green is boisterous and happy, Purple is neat and writes on unlined paper, whereas Red is bold and sprawls over the lines. I’m most sympathetic to the plight of poor Peach. Having lost his paper coat, he is shamefully naked, hiding away in the crayon box.
The unique concept, the detail in the illustrations (all in crayon of course) and the ‘epistolary’ approach are really refreshing and lots of fun. This book made me seriously nostalgic for my crayons and reminded me of how much I used to love colouring in.
There’s a really nice message about thinking outside of the crayola box. For a girl who used to get into trouble from her Primary School teacher for using the wrong colours for things (pink petals on a daisy for example) the final spread was a joyful vindication of creative freedom.
The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers, published by HarperCollins, is available now.