MaiStoryBook Library: The Day the Crayons Quit + Reading Buddy Craft & Imagination Drawing

Introducing the delightfully clever children’s book featured in this week’s MaiStoryBook Library Collection:

“The Day the Crayons Quit” by DayWalt and Jeffers

Book Synopsis and Review

Duncan, a mini budding artist, just wants to draw. But when he reaches for his prized artist tools, his box of crayons, he finds, instead, an ominous stack of letters. Who are they from, and where did his crayons go? And thus, begins a series of crafty and expressive letters from each crayon in the crayon box. Feelings of exhaustion, jealousy, gloom, and frustration bubble up from these letters as the crayons tell Duncan exactly how they feel they have been treated. Can Duncan find a way to listen and respond to his crayon friend’s needs in time for his classroom drawing project?

As an artist, this book about crayons revolting struck my funny bone- plus the thought of my artist tools suddenly refusing to work was slightly alarming! But beyond that, this is an incredibly fun book and cleverly written, a great read for not just children, but adults as well. For kids, this is a great book to facilitate rich conversation. First, there are ample opportunities to talk about colors: thinking about and labeling things of different colors. Jeffers’ illustrations delight with his child-like images capturing the spirit of Duncan, and his expansion on the use of normative versus creative use of colors. Second, parents can talk with children about empathy, how to understand how others feel and share in those feelings. For younger children, the book offers learning opportunities for being able to identify how people feel based on their body language. DayWalt’s creation of such expressive crayon characters in this story provide plenty of times to discuss emotions.

Vocabulary List 

  • Wheat (Beige Crayon)– plant that we make breads and pastas out of
  • Career (Green Crayon)– a job someone does for a long time
  • Stubby (Blue Crayon) – short and small
  • Occasional (Pink Crayon) – every once in awhile
  • Creativity (Last Page) – when you use your imagination to make something truly unique, something that’s all yours

Themes/Main Ideas

  • Feelings & Emotions
    • Empathy- being able to understand and share the emotions and feelings of someone else
    • Identifying emotions through body language and facial expression
  • Don’t be afraid to use your imagination:  use a rainbow of different colors, color outside the lines, dare to be different

YouTube Video: Guided Shared-Reading Read Aloud Example

Example of a shared-reading Read Aloud of “The Day the Crayons Quit”: how to subtly introduce the vocabulary list words within the text, ask guided questions, and spark conversation!

Subscribe: MaiStoryBook Channel for additional read aloud videos!

Reading Buddy Crayon Craft

This is a fun, simple craft to add a physical element to the story, and further bring the book and the characters to life. These miniature crayon action figures make fantastic reading buddies during a second reading of the story, or even your child’s own retelling of the story. Be prepared for an afternoon of puff balls, glue, and googly eyes~ your craft spot will look like a rainbow exploded!


  • Box of crayons
  • Pipe cleaners- Assorted colors
  • Mini Puff Balls – Assorted colors
  • Googly Eyes
  • Hot glue gun
  • Scissors
  • Black marker


  • Choose a color and gather materials: (ex. blue)
    • Have your child help you find all the blue materials: blue crayon, blue pipe cleaner, blue mini puff ball, 2 googly eyes

  • Glue materials
    • Glue on 2 googly eyes near the top of the crayon using Elmers glue or hot glue
    • Glue on the puff ball nose under the eyes – only works with hot glue gun or super glue. Do not use Elmers glue.
  • Draw on facial expression with black marker (ex. blue)
    • Discuss with your child how this color crayon felt during the story (For blue: was short, stubby, and overworked so he would have a sad frown)
  • Attach pipe cleaner arms and legs (ex. yellow)
    • Cut pipe cleaner into thirds- You will be using 2 of the 3 pieces
    • Wrap 1/3 of pipe cleaner around the top front of the crayon, beneath the math, and twist behind to secure. Pull the ends out to create arms
    • Wrap 1/3 of pipe cleaner around the bottom quarter of the crayon, twisting behind to secure, and pulling ends out and downward to create legs.
    • Narrate instructions and actions while twisting the pipe cleaners, or while the child twists
    • You can glue for extra security, but not necessary

Enjoy Your Reading Buddy!

  • Use crayon reading buddies as guides and action figures during a second telling of the story
  • Use crayon reading buddies as action figures to invent a new ending to the story, or retell the story in a mini puppet show!

*Psst, how many reading buddies do you spot in this photo??* 😉

Imagination Drawing

For a book all about colors and creativity, I had to throw in some drawing and coloring into the mix. And, *guilty!*, as an artist I couldn’t resist a good color/draw sesh. For this activity, simply give your child a couple blank pieces of paper, a box of crayons, and let their imaginations go wild!


  • Box of crayons or coloring/drawing utensils
  • 2-3 Blank pieces of paper
  • Imagination! & Creativity!


As the directions are pretty straight forward — give your child paper, crayons and let em’ loose — the following directions serve more as a guide for parents to have a conversation and educational dialogue with their child while they are coloring.

  •  If your child is coloring with a crayon color from the book, ask him/her what they recall about how that crayon felt and what they were asking of Duncan was.
  • Talk about different things that are the same color and different than the select crayon.
  • Prompt your child to try using colors for different objects they wouldn’t normally be used for (ex. orange whales, green water, purple strawberries)
  • Additionally, you can open to the last mural  illustration at the end of the book, and leave it open while your child draws and colors. Have a conversation about the pictures on the page,  what colors things are, and if Duncan listened to his crayon friends’ advice. Encourage your child to use *creativity* like Duncan did.

*~Overall, Have FUN seeing what your child dreams up.  Please share photos of your craft sessions and read aloud experiences below in the comments – tag me on Instagram @MaiStoryBookLibrary  – or post on FaceBook ! I’d love to hear from you!~*

*Check Back on Next Friday for our New Reading Adventure*

*~Until next time, Happy Reading~*

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