It’s difficult not to be awed by the talent and originality of the team of author Daywalt and illustrator Jeffers.
This epistolary story is a follow-up to the wonderful book The Day the Crayons Quit, in which Duncan’s crayons wrote him letters of complaint about the uses to which they had been put.
In this hilarious sequel, Duncan receives a stack of postcards from crayons no longer in the crayon box.
There is a note, for example, from Maroon Crayon, lost two years earlier in the couch. Big Chunky Toddler Crayon writes to complain that he can’t take Duncan’s baby brother anymore (who has bitten of the top of the crayon’s head, put it in the cat’s nose, etc.) and wants to be rescued. Yellow and Orange were left outside and can’t stand being all melted; they want to be brought inside; Neon Red Crayon was left by a hotel pool; and Burnt Sienna was eaten by the dog and puked up on the rug. (Burnt Sienna signs the postcard: “Your Undigestible Friend.”)
Duncan wanted to make all his crayons happy, so he created a Crayon Fort “where each crayon would always feel at home.”
The book contains welcome messages concerning the efficacy of protesting about ill treatment; examining feelings from someone else’s point of view; and just “thinking outside the box” generally.
The crayon-style drawings and collage illustrations by Oliver Jeffers complement the text perfectly. The letters from the crayons are rendered in a whimsical font on the backs of postcards (sometimes the fronts are shown as well, and they are very funny also), and even the stamps and postmarks are quite amusing. All of the pictures look as if they were colored by a kid.
Evaluation: Again, as with the previous book, I thought the writing by the crayons was beyond clever and witty, and the artwork is outstanding. Both kids and adults will giggle their way through this story, which offers some important messages in addition to being just a lot of fun.
Published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, 2015