Ornery wax crayons all have different needs and desires; can a kid help each colour set aside grievances and work together?

The thought of picnics made him hungry.
So he laid out a nice simple picnic lunch.
There was nothing but pie.
But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best.

 

There’s a cartoon making the rounds on the internet. A child has opened up a Christmas gift to discover an expensive, high tech gadget, and is completely enchanted. An adult, meanwhile, has received an old-fashioned printed-on-paper colouring book, and is completely enchanted.

The best jokes, of course, are based on reality. And grown-ups are rediscovering the joy of colouring.

“We’ve never seen a phenomenon like it in our thirty years of publishing,” a British publishing company rep told the New Yorker magazine about colouring books marketed at adults. “We are on our fifteenth reprint of some of our titles. Just can’t keep them in print fast enough.”

Why?

 

Aficionados say colouring is a great stress reliever. And the best of the best have huge fan followings on social media.

And then there’s the “Peter Pan market.” Adults, the New Yorker says, are retaking their childhoods with a vengeance. How about “weekly preschool classes for adults in Brooklyn”? It’s pay for play: “[P]articipants make crafts with glitter glue, have naptime, and pose for class pictures, with sessions priced on a sliding scale from three hundred and thirty-three dollars to nine hundred and ninety-nine. ‘Play is different than ‘playing along,’ ” Michelle Joni Lapidos, the organizer of the sessions, wrote … ‘Play breeds physical health and mental well-being. People who didn’t play growing up become serial killers and stuff.’ ”

Oh please.

If you’ve put away childish things, and are happy, then more power to you. As we all know, play does not in itself lead to happiness. It can just as often lead to a nasty fight.

A little girl discovers this as she overhears a box of crayons talking. Well, arguing, actually.

They are crabby crayons, and they do not like each other one little bit. You can read about their pouty ways in The Crayon Box That Talked (rhymes by Shane DeWolf, pictures by Michael Letzig, 1997, filed at C-62).

But the little girl is pretty darned smart. She decides to show them a different way. She uses all the crayons, together, to create a beautiful picture:

We are a box of crayons,
Each one of us unique,
But when we get together…
The picture is complete.

Crayons are often ornery, it appears. In The Day The Crayons Quit (words Drew Daywalt, illustrations  Oliver Jeffers, 2013, also at C-62), little Duncan pulls out his crayon box and… finds them gone.

Each crayon has left him a note. A list of grievances.

Red is used too much, especially at Christmas, and needs some rest. Pink is being entirely ignored. Purple is a neatnik, but Duncan sloppily colours outside the lines.

Every crayon in the box is angry. “Well, poor Duncan just wanted to color… and of course he wanted his crayons to be happy. And that gave him an idea.” That idea’s rather delightful.

For slightly older readers, consider Amber Brown Is Not A Crayon (by Paula Danziger, 1994, In C-146). The only crayon here is the insult the other Grade Three kids throw at Amber just to annoy her (“Amber Brown is not a crayon,” she responds with dignity. “Amber Brown is a person.”) Amber’s teacher loves to play with imagination while teaching the students about far away places like China and Australia.

Unfortunately, Amber’s best pal Justin is going away, for real, to a new city, a new school, and new friends.

Both Amber and Justin are sad. They argue. They vow never to speak again. Fortunately, they both use their imaginations to help work things through.

Crayons really do encourage the imagination. Harold’s may well be the most famous crayon of all time.

Harold And The Purple Crayon (by Crocket Johnson, 1955, C-66) features a little boy creating a whole world out of nothing but a few purple lines. This is a classic, filled with the enchantment of a single crayon.

And if all this inspires your child to draw on a wall, well, remember that in a few short years, they’ll have outgrown it all, and you’ll have only joyful memories. Those memories are worth more than the mere half-hour of time it took to repaint the wall.

Then again, parents and their adult kids can always go back to that wall and crayon it up all over again.

— Eleanor Brown, December 31, 2015

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About BiblioLennLibrary

The Lennoxville Library, in Quebec's Eastern Townships, offers free memberships to all residents of Sherbrooke. We have a great selection of books in French and English, plus books on tape and CD, too! Check out our large-print section, our graphic novels... La Biblio Lennoxville se situe dans les Cantons-de-l'Est du Quebec. Les residents de Sherbrooke peuvent devenir membre gratuitement. Nous avons une grande selection de livres en francais et en anglais. Venez donc nous voir! Hours/Heures d'ouverture: Mardi-Tuesday, 10am to 5pm -- 10h a 17h Mercredi et Jeudi -Wednesday and Thursday, 10am to 6pm -- 10h a 18h Vendredi-Friday, 10am to 5pm -- 10h a 17h Samedi-Saturday, 11am to 4pm -- 11h a 16h Pour plus d'info, vous pouvez nous trouver au http://www.bibliolennoxvillelibrary.ca/ Click on the above to get to our website!
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