Do you know the book, The Day the Crayons Quit? If a children’s book could be a celebrity, this one would be Taylor Swift. It’s adorable and it’s everywhere—full-page magazine ads, life-sized cardboard cutouts, it’s even got its own Twitter campaign! (#SavetheCrayons) I’ve been around publishing long enough to know that this is NOT the norm as far as book publicity goes, especially for non-Julianne-Moore-penned titles. What’s the story there, I wonder?
Industry marketing questions aside, this is a really cute book. In our house we love Oliver Jeffers, the illustrator who brings to life the disgruntled crayons dreamed up by author Drew Daywalt. The gist is this: the crayons are sick of being used, or underused, for only certain purposes—gray for elephants and hippos, black for outlining, blue for the sky, pink for princesses, you get the idea. Each crayon writes a heartfelt letter to its owner, begging him to rethink his color credo. It’s hilarious.
And it’s also totally accurate. How many of us instinctively reach for green to color grass, even though anyone who’s ever seen a hillside in California in the summertime—or our parched front lawn, for that matter—knows that yellow or tan is a better choice?
We’ve been able to dodge the “pink and purple are girl colors” bullet only because a) my boys love the Pink Panther, and b) our local football team is the Ravens. Also, there is a sizeable preppy population here that believes pink shorts are perfectly acceptable men’s attire. Hey, if it helps break down gender stereotypes, I’m all for it. Rock on with your Vineyard Vines!
I have always been one to notice color. Sometimes when I’m at the gym, I’ll observe that more than half of the women there are all wearing the same shade. One day an exercise class may be a sea of hot pink, another day, neon yellow. How does that happen? Does everyone wake up and say, “I’m in a turquoise mood for Zumba today”?
Waiting outside my kids’ school at pickup time, I notice the vibrant teal slide shimmering in the sunlight, and the ruby red shoes of the little girl sliding down it. On an evening walk with the dog, I stop in my tracks to peer closer at a spray of purple flowers which seem to glow in the dusk. I tried to capture the apricot and periwinkle sunset on my phone, but the camera didn’t do it justice.
Maybe I can do better with crayons and paper. Mango Tango, I’m coming for you.*
*That’s a real Crayola color, BTW.
PIC O’ THE DAY: 5yo’s Riley’s drawing of the Blue Angels, which flew over Baltimore for the 200th anniversary celebration of The Star-Spangled Banner.