Saturday, 9 November 2019

The Crayons' Christmas


The Crayons' Christmas By Drew Daywalt, pictures by Oliver Jeffers (Harper Collins) ISBN 978-0-00-818036-2 RRP $27.99 (HB)

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

The Crayons' Christmas is a picture book with activities, about a boy called Duncan and his family of crayons. In the lead-up to Christmas, mail arrives at Duncan’s house from crayons around the world. Six envelopes through the book contain items such as postcards, things to make out of paper, a map and a game. Illustrations in the book are of crayons, each with their own personalities, having conversations and making jokes. There is a lot to look at!

Aimed at early-to-mid-primary school children, this is a book that can be read by adults to their children or by the children themselves and the humour is directed at both these groups. For instance, there do seem to be a few crayons getting themselves stuck to underpants. On the other hand, the map of the world depicting famous landmarks in the wrong places, such as the Great Wall of China in Africa and the Statue of Liberty in Australia, is obviously one of the adult jokes and would need to be explained to the kids to avoid confusion.

The story is set in the US and does mention a celebration other than the Christian one (one of the crayons sends a Hanukkah card). There’s also an inclusion of gluten-free crayons! In one of the funny conversations, a candy cane that’s been on the tree as a decoration for years, points out to one of the crayons that candy is supposed to be eaten. And there’s a homage to the Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer story to make everything all more Christmassy. 

The appeal of this book is its variety. There are many topics, subjects and characters. It is colourful, tactile and has a big pop-up Christmas tree at the end. The Crayon’s Christmas is an interactive and funny Christmas-themed book. It should be good entertainment, and will no doubt be a popular present at this time of year.

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