Tag Archives: the day the crayons quit

picture books on color


The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Dewalt, pictures by Oliver Jeffers.


My Blue is Happy by Jessica Young, illustrated by Catia Chen.

Both of these terrific books from 2013 spotlight color as subject.



The Day the Crayons Quit is a series of letters to a boy named Duncan. From the crayons in his crayon box.

These colors have feelings. Each  has something to complain about. Or lobby for. Or be heard regarding. Even on a fellow crayon’s behalf.

The letters are hilarious. As are the accompanying illustrations by Mr. Jeffers.






Funny enough, three of my very favorite spreads are the less colorful colors in the crayon box. Not sure what that says about me, but I think it’s that the illustrations are that much more creative because the colors aren’t automatically stars.

That swayed beige conveys so much.

TDTCQ PG_7_8 LORESThe genius use of negative space for white.




TDTCQ PG_11_12 LORESThere’s just something so great about a beach scene starring the very opposite of what you’d imagine. It’s so very French. And an all black rainbow!





Green has only good things to say about its life as a green crayon. Instead, there’s an issue with friends yellow and orange that must be addressed.





myblueishappy My Blue is Happy takes a look at the associations we have with color. The feelings they give us.

One person’s sad is another person’s happy.

“My sister says that blue is sad like a lonely song. But my blue is happy like my favorite jeans and a splash in the pool on a hot day.”






Orange can be fun like basketball or serious like a tiger.




Brown: ordinary or special as chocolate syrup.





Green: young like new growth, or old as a forest.



It all depends on who’s doing the looking. I like the way this explores comparisons in a natural way and begs the question, “What do you associate with the color ___________?”


Both books could be of great use in an art context, to discuss color theory, or just to enjoy.


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Okay, so here’s some fun with COLOR (wheels):


Origami color wheel box by Boston Origami.


Ummmm, gummy bear color wheel!

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Color wheel a la LEGO!


Cocktail umbrella color wheel from Bright Lights Little City.



Diem Chau‘s amazing carved crayons.


Animal crayons, anyone?


Finally,  there are fun color exercises and optical illusions like this one from We All Sew.The middle squares are all the same color. But see how different they look depending on the background?

To color!