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My son, who is eight, is currently reading the Terry Pratchett Discworld series at home and school (he is a free reader). He is making great headway with these and we are enjoying them so much, exploring everything they have to offer.

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On his own he is also reading a lot of Asterix graphic novels and the usual diet of Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates and David Walliams books.

In recent weeks he has been asking me to read picture books to him at bedtime, which is why more of them are featured here on Making Them Readers. I don’t mind at all, given that he is making such strides in all the other areas of his reading.  To be honest it is a pleasure. I have missed reading picture books, and it’s good to see what’s out there.

You are never too old for great picture books.

Today we shared: ‘The Day The Crayons Quit’. It is written by Drew Daywalt, and has pictures by Oliver Jeffers.  I’ve not really experienced Daywalt’s writing before, but I am very familiar with and fond of Oliver Jeffers’ work, and it is what drew us to the book in the first place.  Lost and Found by Jeffers’ was a pretty seminal work in Oscar’s reading career, and holds a special place in my own heart because of that.  Jeffers’ subtle humour and wonderfully spare drawings are a real joy.

Here, the words and pictures work splendidly together and we really enjoyed Daywalt’s imaginative story about a box of crayons, who for different reasons are all having problems in their job as Duncan’s colouring in tools.  Each double page spread shows a letter from an individual crayon laying out their gripe:

“If you don’t start colouring inside the lines soon…I’m going to completely lose it.”

says the purple crayon, and so on, through the entire rainbow of colours.

The book ends with Duncan’s rather gorgeous solution to his crayons’ woes.

The illustrations are as funny as the letters, and Jeffers shows each crayon’s dilemma in wonderfully comic terms. I particularly liked his depiction of the squabble between the orange and yellow crayon as to which one of them is the correct colour for the sun.

This is imaginative and witty. It is a wonderful alternative to the standard boring picture books about colour. It’s fun to share and we particularly liked the fact that the didactic elements of the book are cleverly hidden so that the story is most important and the learning is subtle and unconscious.

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