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The Crayons' Christmas

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
The Crayons' Christmas Book Poster Image
Crayons celebrate the season with funny pull-out letters.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Funny book meant to entertain. But kids will be exposed to the concept of snail mail letters and see how they're addressed. 

Positive Messages

The holidays are a fun time to get together with friends and family. Do what you can to give back to your loved ones who take care of you. If you can't be with folks you love at holiday time, write them a letter!

Positive Role Models & Representations

The crayons demonstrate kind friendship among themselves and appreciation of Duncan, the boy whose bedroom they live in, and respect for various holiday traditions. Both Christmas and Hanukkah are represented. Some crayon parents send loving letters to their "kids." 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Drew Daywalt's The Crayons' Christmas, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, is the third book in a series that began with The Day the Crayons Quit. Once again letters tell the story, but this time it's more interactive, as readers get to pull out and hold the letters, which are tucked into envelopes, a box of Christmas decorations, and a shipped package. The letters, addressed to different crayon colors in Duncan's bedroom, convey Christmas wishes from crayon parents and from three of their fellow crayons who are on the road and can't make it home for the holidays. (Both Christmas and Hanukkah are represented.) One letter folds out to be a simple board game. All the letters are full of jokes and funny drawings. And some of the envelopes include paper doll-type outfits for the crayons that readers can pop out and play with. 

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What's the story?

THE CRAYONS' CHRISTMAS begins as Duncan, the unseen boy, is making Christmas cards with his crayons, and the mail carrier brings a letter, "only it wasn't for him." It's addressed to "Peach Crayon, Apt. 4, Crayon Box, Duncan's Room, on the bookshelf (next to weird pen holder)." It's from that crayon's mom and dad in Florida. Inside the envelope, along with their letter, is a cardboard image of Peach Crayon and several different outfits, including a Santa suit and a reindeer sweater that readers can punch out and use to dress the crayon (like a paper doll). The next day, after they all play in the snow, Duncan brings down a box of Christmas decorations. Readers find things in the box to punch out: Silver Crayon (left in the box since last year), a candy cane, an elf, some ornaments. The next day, the crayons decorate the house and another letter is delivered: this one to Beige Crayon from his dad, who sends along a recipe for gluten-free Christmas cookies, because "I heard you're allergic to gluten now, from coloring in all that wheat." Each letter and all the dialogue is full of wit and inside jokes for fans of the series. The crayons hear from three other crayons who couldn't make it back home for Christmas and Hanukkah. And they color in a big pop-up Christmas tree as a surprise gift for Duncan. "In this season of giving, they decided to give back to the boy who had always given them love, respect, and even a home."

Is it any good?

This offbeat holiday story has the same warm and wacky humor of the other books in the Crayons series. It's great to see the old gang back together again in The Crayons' Christmas -- even if some only show up in letters. It's sweet but not overly sentimental, and sly without being snarky.

The crayons' tiny handwriting is a little hard to read in places, but the regular text is big and clear. Parents and caregivers should be able to manage it all for a fun, interactive read-aloud. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the friends spend the holidays in The Crayons' Christmas. What do they do that your family does to celebrate? How much would you miss your family members if they weren't with you for Christmas or Hanukkah? 

  • How crazy is it to think of crayons as having feelings like kids have? Do you ever imagine your toys having experiences when you're not around? 

  • What's fun about this series? Do you look forward to more books about Duncan's crayons? What other travels and adventures could they have? 

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