January 3, 2014

Mentor Writing Text: The Day the Crayons Quit!

Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you had a great holiday and enjoyed your time off.  I have been relishing every last minute of freedom. I have not graded one paper, looked over a single lesson plan, or even uncapped a purple pen (because we all know red is taboo). However, I can never fully turn off my teacher brain.  Look what I found!

The Day the Crayons Quit
by Drew Daywalt

Perhaps you are like me and you had seen it before.  You'd even heard about it.  I mean...it's a New York Times Bestseller, right? How could we have missed it?

I had seen it on display, but I had never sat down and read it all the way through. Um...it's HILARIOUS and the perfect book for teaching children about personification, perspective, and writing voice. I liked it so much I bought it right then and there.  I even paid full price! Okay, full disclosure... I used a gift card, but you get the idea.

The book begins with Duncan discovering a stack of letters instead of his crayons in his desk. Each crayon has written to him to express their concerns and complaints about how they are being used.  Some feel under appreciated, some just need a break, and some just want him to start coloring in the lines.

Oliver Jeffers (illustrator of Stuck and The Moose Belongs to Me) did the pictures and they are fabulous!

Take a look...

picture courtesy of sittingcomfortably.org

picture courtesy of coolmompicks.com
In the end, Duncan discovers he needs to use all the crayons to make them happy and creates this final masterpiece.  Notice the lack of white space.  I'm always on my students to fill the page with color.  This is the perfect example of what I mean. White is in fact a color. Naturally, Duncan receives an A in coloring. I think I would give him an A+!

picture courtesy of searchingforteacherbalance.blogspot.com

I can honestly say this is one of my favorite picture books I have read in awhile. I laughed out loud in the middle of Barnes and Noble and have enjoyed rereading it several times since.

I plan on using this as a mentor text for my 4th graders.  After reading and discussing the voice, perspective of each crayon, and personification (because really you can't waste this opportunity) students will write their own letters from the crayons point of view. 

I love books like this because it doesn't just provide one or two examples... there are thirteen examples!  The kids hear good writing over and over again.  And we all know it takes more then one good example. It gives them shoulders to stand on while they write..the definition of a good mentor text. Thank you Drew Daywalt!

I can't wait to give this a try with my 4th graders.  I see a very cool class book in our future...The Day the Crayons Quit 4th Grade!


  1. It's one of my new faves as well! The kids loved it! We did it the first week of school and I had them write from the perspective of any school supply of their choice. I think it is a really great mentor text for them. :)


  2. I used it with my 4th graders as well - it was a big hit! The one time they were begging to keep writing!

  3. Never heard of it - will have to check it out!

  4. Oliver Jeffers books make great gifts for children. Our grand kids love them! We will be ordering more! Highly recommend all of his books!
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  5. I just read this book to my 9 yr old and 13 year old they loved it and laughed along with me. This is my new favorite children's book!


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