Texas Bluebonnet Award 2014-2015

Resources for the TBA Nominees

Day the Crayons Quit


The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt

Scroll down to find Related Activities & Resources, Book Talk Teasers, Read Alikes, and Book Reviews.

Readers Theater Script – The Day the Crayons Quit (PDF)


Publishers Website:

Illustrator’s Website:


Penguin Canada Book Activities–Word Search, Draw with Weird Colors, Crayon Maze and Connect the Dots:

The Classroom BookShelf Activities and Ideas:

Lessons on Feelings (These are just two examples):


History of Crayons:

How To Recycle Old Crayons into New Crayons: http://frugalliving.about.com/od/frugalfun/ht/Make_Crayons.htm

Crayon Math Problems from bedtimemath.org:


What are feelings? What types of feelings are there? Tell them about other feelings that they did not mention. Assign each student/partners a crayon letter from the book to examine. Have the kids decide what feelings that the crayon is experiencing. Then have the student(s) decide if there is something that Duncan can do to help them ease or eliminate these feelings or if the crayon is the one who must face their feeling(s). Have each student or partners create an additional page for the book showing how their crayon faces those feelings and include a summary of what is being told in the picture the student(s) create.

Draw a picture using the crayons as they have asked to be used or not used in the book.

Have kids write a letter to comfort the crayon that they relate to the most.

The Day the Crayons Quit Crossword

Melting Crayons Science Experiment


From the inside flap, “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?”


Books written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Author/Illustrator Appeal):

The heart and the bottle. After safeguarding her heart in a bottle hung around her neck, a girl finds the bottle growing heavier and her interest in things around her becoming smaller. (NoveList)

The Hueys in the new sweater. One Huey wears a new sweater to be different from the other identical Hueys, only to have them decide to be different too–by wearing sweaters. (NoveList)

It wasn’t me! Hueys may look the same, think the same, and even do the same things, but that doesn’t mean they can’t disagree. The only problem is, they can’t seem to agree on what they didn’t agree on in the first place! Which ultimately leads to an even bigger disagreement. (NoveList)

Stuck. When Floyd’s kite gets stuck in a tree, he tries to knock it down with increasingly larger and more outrageous things. (NoveList)

This moose belongs to me. A young boy learns that moose do not always follow the rules of proper pet behavior. (NoveList)

Other humorous picture books (Subject Appeal):

Austin, Mike. Monsters love colors. Playful monsters combine their favorite crayons, red, yellow, and blue, to create new colors, including one never before seen. (NoveList)

Czekaj, Jef. A call for a new alphabet. Tired of being near the end of the alphabet, starting few words, and being governed by grammar rules, X calls for a vote on a new Alphabet Constitution, then dreams of how life would be if he became a different letter. (NoveList)

DeRolf, Shane. The crayon box that talked. Although they are many different colors, the crayons in a box discover that when they get together they can appreciate each other and make a complete picture. (NoveList)

Emberly, Ed. Glad monster, sad monster. Monsters of different colors explain what makes them feel glad, sad, loving, worried, silly, and angry. Fold-out masks encourage readers to talk about their feelings. (NoveList)

Hubbard, Patricia. My crayon’s talk. Brown crayon sings “Play, mud-pie day,” and Blue crayon calls “Sky, swing so high” in this story about talking crayons. (NoveList)

Jackson, Alison. Thea’s tree. Thea Teawinkle plants an odd, purple, bean-shaped seed in her backyard for her class science project, with astonishing results that even the experts she writes to–including a botanist, an arborist, a museum curator, and a symphony director–cannot offer any explanations for. (NoveList)

Kumin, Maxine. What color is Caesar? Caesar sets out to discover if he is a white dog with black spots or a black dog with white spots, but asking other black and white creatures only confuses him further. (NoveList)

McKee, David. Elmer. All the elephants of the jungle were gray except Elmer, who was a patchwork of brilliant colors until the day he got tired of being different and making the other elephants laugh. (NoveList)

Munsch, Robert N. Purple, green and yellow. Brigid makes a mess with her markers. (NoveList)

Rosenthal, Amy Krouse. Spoon. Thinking that Fork, Knife, and Chopstick have it better than he. Spoon begins to feel down about his status in the utensil world, but when others take the time to show him just how important he is, Spoon quickly comes to realize that being a spoon is the best thing to be after all. (NoveList)

Stanley, Diane. Raising Sweetness. Sweetness, one of eight orphans living with a man who is an unconventional housekeeper, learns to read and writes an important letter to improve their situation. (NoveList)

Watts, Melanie. Chester’s masterpiece. Chester attempts to write the book after hiding Mélanie’s supplies, but she keeps finding problems with his story. (NoveList)


The Day the Crayons Quit. By Drew Daywalt. Illus. by Oliver Jeffers. 2013. 40p. Philomel, $17.99 (9780399255373). K–Gr. 3. (Booklist, July, 2013).

Duncan’s crayons are on strike. One morning he opens his desk looking for them and, in their place, finds a pack of letters detailing their grievances, one crayon at a time. Red is tired. Beige is bored. Black is misunderstood. Peach is naked! The conceit is an enticing one, and although the crayons’ complaints are not entirely unique (a preponderance centers around some variation of overuse), the artist’s indelible characterization contributes significant charm. Indeed, Jeffers’ ability to communicate emotion in simple gestures, even on a skinny cylinder of wax, elevates crayon drawing to remarkable heights. First-class bookmaking, with clean design, ample trim size, and substantial paper stock, adds to the quality feel. A final spread sees all things right, as Duncan fills a page with bright, delightful imagery, addressing each of the crayons’ issues and forcing them into colorful cooperation. Kids who already attribute feelings to their playthings will never look at crayons the same way again.— Thom Barthelmess

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books:
Daywalt, Drew. 2013. The Day the Crayons Quit. Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. New York: Philomel Books / Penguin Young Readers Group. Hardback: 9780399255373.

One day in class, Duncan went to take out his crayons and found a stack of letters with his name on them.” What follows is a hilarious epistolary tale wherein each crayon, in childlike printing on lined paper, shares something with Duncan. Some feel overworked (“Gray crayon here. You’re KILLING ME! I know you love Elephants. And I know that elephants are gray . . . but that’s a LOT of space to color in all by myself”), some feel underappreciated (writes Beige Crayon, “The only things I get are turkey dinners (if I’m lucky) and wheat, and let’s be honest when was the last time you saw a kid excited about coloring wheat?”). Some crayons are caught up in disputes (Orange Crayon and Yellow Crayon both insist they are the true color of the sun, as evidenced by pages from coloring books that Duncan completed), while others have entirely unique issues (“It’s me, peach crayon. Why did you peel off my paper wrapping?? Now I’m NAKED and too embarrassed to leave the crayon box”). Each spread includes a reproduction of the actual letter (written in crayon, of course) on the verso, facing an appropriate composition such as a childlike crayon drawing or a colored-in page from a coloring book. The crayons themselves, with deceptively simple line and dot faces, are rich in emotion and character, and it’s entertaining to consider each crayon’s representation in light of the voice in its letter. While potential lessons in inference, point of view, and persuasive writing abound in the crayons’ letters, this is guaranteed to see just as much use for being just plain fun. Move over, Click, Clack, Moo (BCCB 9/00); we’ve got a new contender for most successful picture-book strike. Review Code: R* — Recommended. A book of special distinction. Ages 5-9 yrs. Hope Morrison (The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, September 2013 (Vol. 67, No. 1))

Horn Book:
The Day the Crayons Quit

by Drew Daywalt; illus. by Oliver Jeffers
Primary     Philomel     40 pp.
6/13     978-0-399-25537-3     $17.99

All Duncan wants to do is color, but when he opens his box of crayons, he finds himself in the midst of a bitter labor dispute. The crayons have gone on strike, and they’ve left Duncan a pile of letters listing their grievances. From undervalued beige and pink to overworked red and blue, each crayon’s letter clearly states a specific request for a change in working conditions. Even the green crayon, who has no complaints on its own behalf, explains that both yellow and orange, who are no longer speaking to each other, feel they should be the color of the sun. (“Please settle this soon because they’re driving the rest of us crazy!”) As drama unfolds among the colors, Jeffers’s spare crayon illustrations pop off the white background, adding movement and momentum to the imaginative narrative. The personified crayons express such emotion in so few crude strokes, particularly the discouraged beige crayon with its furrowed brow and slumped shoulders, standing forlorn next to a single sprig of wheat (the only thing Duncan uses beige for besides turkey dinners). Photographs of the handwritten letters and coloring book pages establish verisimilitude in an otherwise outrageous premise, which amplifies the comedy. The vibrant final spread addressing each color’s concerns leaves all parties with an amicable resolution and readers with a sense of satisfaction. SHARA L. HARDESON – Reprinted from The Horn Book Magazine by permission of The Horn Book, Inc., www.hbook.com

School Library Journal:
Daywalt, Drew. The Day the Crayons Quit

★ K-Gr 2—In this delightfully imaginative take on a beloved childhood activity, a young boy’s crayons have had enough. Fed up with their workload and eager to voice their grievances, they pen letters to Duncan detailing their frustrations. Energetic and off-the-wall, the complaints are always wildly funny, from the neurotically neat Purple (“If you DON’T START COLORING INSIDE the lines soon… I’m going to COMPLETELY LOSE IT”) to the underappreciated White (“If I didn’t have a black outline, you wouldn’t even know I was THERE!”). Daywalt has an instinctive understanding of the kind of humor that will resonate with young children, such as Orange and Yellow duking it out over which of them represents the true color of the sun or Peach’s lament that ever since its wrapper has fallen off, it feels naked. Though Jeffers’s messily scrawled crayon illustrations are appropriately childlike, they’re also infused with a sophisticated wit that perfectly accompanies the laugh-out-loud text; for example, a letter from Beige, in which he bemoans being tasked with drawing dull items like turkey dinners, is paired with an image of the crestfallen crayon drooping over beside a blade of wheat. Later on, Pink grumbles about constantly being passed over for less-feminine colors while the opposite page depicts a discomfited-looking pink monster and cowboy being derided by a similarly hued dinosaur. This colorful title should make for an uproarious storytime and may even inspire some equally creative art projects.—Mahnaz Dar, Library Journal


2 thoughts on “Day the Crayons Quit

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  2. Pingback: The Day the Crayons Quit | Book Discussion Guides

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