The Day the Crayons Quit

crayons

Title of Book: The day the crayons quit by Drew Daywalt

GoodReads Rating: 4.41

Summary:

This picture book contains a series of letters each written by a different color crayon to their owner, a little boy named Duncan. They all complain (expect the green crayon) about various situations, such as being used too much or not enough.

APA Reference of Book:

Daywalt, D. (2013).The day the crayons quit. New York, NY: Philomel Books.

My Impressions: 

This is a very creative picture book. The unique use of point of view is funny and entertaining for both children and parents reading this book. In addition, it has child-like illustrations, as if a child had created them with the crayon featured on that page in letter form. Finally, the last illustration in the book brings a happy conclusion to the crayons’ complaints.

Professional Review:

K-Gr 2-In this delightfully imaginative take on a beloved childhood activity, a young boy’s crayons have had enough. Fed up with their workload and eager to voice their grievances, they pen letters to Duncan detailing their frustrations. Energetic and off-the-wall, the complaints are always wildly funny, from the neurotically neat Purple (“If you DON’T START COLORING INSIDE the lines soon… I’m going to COMPLETELY LOSE IT”) to the underappreciated White (“If I didn’t have a black outline, you wouldn’t even know I was THERE!”). Daywalt has an instinctive understanding of the kind of humor that will resonate with young children, such as Orange and Yellow duking it out over which of them represents the true color of the sun or Peach’s lament that ever since its wrapper has fallen off, it feels naked. Though Jeffers’s messily scrawled crayon illustrations are appropriately childlike, they’re also infused with a sophisticated wit that perfectly accompanies the laugh-out-loud text; for example, a letter from Beige, in which he bemoans being tasked with drawing dull items like turkey dinners, is paired with an image of the crestfallen crayon drooping over beside a blade of wheat. Later on, Pink grumbles about constantly being passed over for less-feminine colors while the opposite page depicts a discomfited-looking pink monster and cowboy being derided by a similarly hued dinosaur. This colorful title should make for an uproarious storytime and may even inspire some equally creative art projects.

Holland, A. (2013). The day the crayons quit. School Library Journal, 59(7), 59.

Library Uses:

As mentioned in the review above, this picture book would be perfect as inspiration for art projects. For example, the librarian could encourage children to use crayon colors they do not normally color with, such as white or black, to create a picture of their family.

 

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American Born Chinese

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Title of Book: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

GoodReads Rating: 3.87

Summary:

This graphic novel tells three separate stories, which seem unrelated, but unite into one story in the end. One story is of a monkey god who is rejected by the other gods, one is of a boy who is embarrassed by his stereotypically Chinese cousin, and one is about a Chinese boy adjusting to life in primarily white school. All three stories are about the protagonist’s struggle with cultural identity and racism/prejudice.

APA Reference of Book:

Yang, G. L. (2008). American born Chinese. New York, NY: Square Fish.

My Impressions: 

I think this graphic novel is well deserving of the Printz Award it received. It deals with some important themes, such as identity and racism, with detail and intricacy. In addition to themes, the internal conflict within the characters, especially in regard to identity, were also very complex. In addition, the author uses three different plots to tell one story and the connection between all three plots, which was unpredictable, is revealed at the end. The plot twists in American Born Chinese took me by surprise and did a great job of reinforcing the themes within the graphic novel. In addition, the illustrations were beautiful. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading American Born Chinese and highly recommend it to anyone seeking a graphic novel that deals with the themes of identity and racism.

Professional Review:

Gr 7 Up– Graphic novels that focus on nonwhite characters are exceedingly rare in American comics. Enter American Born Chinese, a well-crafted work that aptly explores issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self-acceptance. In a series of three linked tales, the central characters are introduced: Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco’s Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb; Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school; and the Monkey King who, unsatisfied with his current sovereign, desperately longs to be elevated to the status of a god. Their stories converge into a satisfying coming-of-age novel that aptly blends traditional Chinese fables and legends with bathroom humor, action figures, and playground politics. Yang’s crisp line drawings, linear panel arrangement, and muted colors provide a strong visual complement to the textual narrative. Like Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and Laurence Yep’s Dragonwings, this novel explores the impact of the American dream on those outside the dominant culture in a finely wrought story that is an effective combination of humor and drama.

Crawford, P. C. (2006). American born Chinese. School Library Journal, 52(9), 240.

Library Uses:

This book would be a great discussion starter between students about identity and stereotypes. One activity that might aid in promoting discussion is for students to write down stereotypical comments people have made to them on a white board. Then the librarian could lead a discussion amongst the students about how they felt when people made these comments. This activity could occur before or after reading this graphic novel.

A Wrinkle in Time

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Title of Book: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

GoodReads Rating: 4.04

Summary:

This book’s protagonist is Meg Murry, the 13-year-old daughter of two scientists. Her three brothers, 10-year-old twins and 5-year-old Charles Wallace, also seem to outshine Meg in terms of intelligence. Meg’s father has been missing for years and the story’s plot centers on Meg locating and rescuing her father with the help of Charles Wallace, a 14-year-old friend named Calvin, and three supernatural beings: Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which. Although these people help Meg, in the end, she realizes that only she has the unique quality to defeat evil.

APA Reference of Book:

L’Engle, M. (1962). A wrinkle in time. New York, NY: Farrar Straus Giroux.

My Impressions: 

A Wrinkle in Time is a unique science fiction story that still captivates and impresses children and adults over 50 years after its publication. I believe it received the Newberry Award for its unique plot, characters, and ability to deal with complex philosophical ideas, such as faith and individualism, in ways that children can understand. In addition, Meg brakes 1960’s stereotypes by playing the protagonist. At the end of the story, it is emphasized continuously that, despite her faults, only she can save Charles Wallace and defeat evil. Although heroines are more readily available in today’s children’s literature, I imagine Meg was unique in her time and gave a sense of empowerment to many young girls who would later grow up to play a role in the feminist movement.

Professional Review:

An allegorical fantasy in which a group of young people are guided through the universe by Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. What — women who possess supernatural powers. They traverse fictitious regions, meet and face evil and demonstrate courage at the right moment. Religious allusions are secondary to the philosophical struggle designed to yield the meaning of life and one’s place on earth. Young Meg’s willingness to face IT in the form of a black beast in order to save a dear friend is one sign of her growing awareness. Readers who relish symbolic reference may find this trip through time and space an exhilarating experience; the rest will be forced to ponder the double entendres.

A wrinkle in time. (1962). Bulletin from Virginia Kirkus’ Service, Retrieved from https://libproxy.library.unt.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/916888444?accountid=7113

Library Uses:

Due to the mysterious worlds described by L’Engle, this would be a good book for a creation station, or makerspace. After reading the novel, students should be encouraged to create their envisionment of one of these planets or beings out of clay, styrofoam, and other craft supplies. When completed, their artwork should be displayed alongside the book.

A Sick Day For Amos McGee

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Title of Book: A Sick Day For Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead (ill. by Erin E. Stead)

GoodReads Rating: 4.24

Summary:

This book is about Amos McGee, who’s everyday routine is to visit and play with his animal friends at the zoo. One day he is sick and can’t make it to the zoo, so the animals come up with a plan to fix the situation and help their friend.

APA Reference of Book:

Stead, P. (2010). A sick day for Amos McGee. New York, NY: Roaring Brook Press.

My Impressions: 

This book is charming in plot, characterization, and illustrations. Young readers will love seeing McGee play with his animal friends in these beautiful, colorful illustrations. In addition, the book emphasizes friendship and the importance of taking care of our friends when they are sick, a lesson many parents will like. Overall, this is a sweet, fun book which I recommend be a part of any library collection.

Professional Review:

K-Gr 2–Amos McGee, an elderly man who works at the zoo, finds time each day for five special friends. With empathy and understanding he gives the elephant, tortoise, penguin, rhinoceros, and owl the attention they need. One morning, Amos wakes up with a bad cold and stays home in bed. His friends wait patiently and then leave the zoo to visit him. Their trip mirrors his daily bus ride to the zoo and spans three nearly wordless spreads. Amos, sitting up in bed, clasps his hands in delight when his friends arrive. The elephant plays chess with him, and the tortoise plays hide-and-seek. The penguin keeps Amos’s feet warm, while the rhinoceros offers a handkerchief when Amos sneezes. They all share a pot of tea. Then the owl, knowing that Amos is afraid of the dark, reads a bedtime story as the other animals listen. They all sleep in Amos’s room the rest of the night. The artwork in this quiet tale of good deeds rewarded uses woodblock-printing techniques, soft flat colors, and occasional bits of red. Illustrations are positioned on the white space to move the tale along and underscore the bonds of friendship and loyalty. Whether read individually or shared, this gentle story will resonate with youngsters.

Smith, M. J. (2010). A sick day for Amos McGee. School Library Journal, 56(5), 92.

Library Uses:

This book would be the perfect addition to a library’s list of animal books or sick day books. If a child was stuck in bed, sick with a cold or fever, they would love to have this book read to them by an adult.