[Book Review] The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

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 that 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? Debut author Drew Daywalt and New York Times bestseller Oliver Jeffers create a colorful solution in this playful, imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way.

So, The Day the Crayons Quit is fairly acclaimed, as far as year-old picture books go. It won the 2013 Goodreads Choice Award for picture books, which is how I discovered it (and, no, before you ask, it was not my vote; I favored The Dark by Lemony Snicket). I’ve seen it called “laugh-out-loud funny”, “the best new children’s book of 2013”, “one of the best picture books of all time”, “a winner for sure”, etcetera–just about any praise you can come up with, this book’s received it from somebody. And, uh, I ain’t seeing it.

Sure, it’s a cute book. The crayons are pissed about their repetitive lives–they keep being used for the same things!–and they rebel. Little Duncan learns to think outside the box, so to speak. Yadda, yadda, the end. That’s a really typical kidlit message right there, and I think I’ve seen it so many times that I simply cannot be bothered to care about another delivery that isn’t outright fantastic. And while The Day the Crayons Quit is an entertaining concept, it’s also kind of a one-note gimmick. I can’t really be amused for thirty pages about the idea of angsty crayons, and I’m kind of surprised that so many people can.

Me, I can totally take it or leave it.

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