The Day the Crayons Quit Book Poster Image

The Day the Crayons Quit

Crayons complain to their owner in funny ode to color.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Much talk about what colors are often used to draw certain things. Kids also get a lesson in emotional intelligence, as these crayons are very in touch with their feelings, and clearly express what's bothering them, but in a thoughtful and respectful (and funny) way.

Positive messages

You can use any crayon to color anything! There's also an implict message to express your feelings and say what's bothering you and when you've reached your linmit. Get it off your chest -- you can even do it in a letter.

Positive role models

The unseen Duncan comes up with a creative solution in response to his crayons' complaints. The crayons are also to be admired for stating what's bothering them in a clear, respectful, and forthright way, rather than holding in their feelings of being mistreated (no matter how silly their complaints may be).

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Day the Crayons Quit is a very original picture book that imagines the issues a box of 12 crayons might have. The crayons lodge their complaints in respectful -- and funny -- letters to their young owner, who finds an artistic way to make them all happy in the end.

What's the story?

A little boy named Duncan (who's never shown) finds a stack of letters in his school desk sent to him by the crayons in his crayon box -- all letters of complaint. In child-like printing, each crayon expresses its frustration. Red says it works too hard all year, coloring fire engines, apples, strawberries. "I even work on holidays!" (coloring Santas and Valentines). Beige doesn't have enough to do -- "Brown gets all the bears, ponies and puppies" -- and it gets stuck with wheat, "and let's be honest -- when was the last time you saw a kid get excited about coloring wheat?" Yellow's fighting with Orange about which one should be used to color the sun. Twelve crayons in all lay out their issues, and then Duncan comes up with a happy, artistic solution to please everyone.

Is it any good?


THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT is wildly imaginative and loads of fun. It has a youthful sensibility that kids will relate to, but it's so clever that adults won't mind reading it over and over again. It's just funny to think about crayons being mad about what they have to color -- or being jealous of what other crayons get to! And illustrator Oliver Jeffers imbues each little crayon with a distinct personality and perfectly captures kid-style drawings. If you're looking for a fresh idea in a children's book, look no further.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about coloring. Are there any rules about which crayons should be used for certain things? Have you ever used a crazy color for a cow or a pig?

  • Check out Eric Carle's The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse and see how he used any color he wanted to paint animals.

  • Take out your box of crayons and try to imagine what they might tell you in a letter. Try writing a letter, pretending you're one of the crayons writing to you. What will you say?

Book details

Author:Drew Daywalt
Illustrator:Oliver Jeffers
Genre:Picture Book
Topics:Arts and dance, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:June 27, 2013
Publisher's recommended age(s):3 - 7
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
Award:ALA Best and Notable Books

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Parent Written bykhudkins October 1, 2013

Not just a children's book: It's an Everyone book.

Younger children might enjoy this, but older children & adults will find this book to be filled with fun humor and a positive message.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 5, 9, and 9 year old Written bybexil July 4, 2013

Great, creative way to look at colors!

I didn't know the author before this, but the illustrator (Oliver Jeffers) is one of our favorite author/illustrators. There is humor, originality, and creativity in how the crayons see themselves being used. My 5 y.o. and two 9 y.o. kids all enjoyed it.
Kid, 11 years old October 11, 2015

OMG So cute!

One of my friends brought the book to class, and we loved it. It was a lot of reading over shoulders, giggles and "Me next!!! I call it!!!". Amazing choice for anyone.