The title alone is enough to give any parent visions of a giant crayon wreaking havoc on freshly painted walls…..
Written and Illustrated by: Michael Hall
Greenwillow, Harper Collins, 2016, fiction
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes/topics: crayons, monsters, writing, fourth wall
Opening: (Title page shows crayons lamenting the cancellation of the book.)
Help! Someone just turned the page.
Take my hand.
Hey, someone must be reading this book!
You’re right. I’ll talk to them.
(from worldcat.org) If the crayons cannot stop the scribble monster, this picture book and the play “Frankencrayon” may have to be canceled.
Activities and Resources:
Writing: If your pencil could talk, what story would it tell?
Why I like this book:
It takes a special author to be able to pull off such a crazy, funny, silly idea. First you see a poster for the “Frankencrayon Picture Book Cast and Crew” stamped “Canceled.” Then the comments from the “characters” (various crayons) begin as they beg the yellow pencil to tell the story of what happened with the scribble. Even the “publisher” speaks. The creativity continues throughout and…. [Aaaaaa! Spoiler deleted under threat of a giant scribble!].
The ideas are both simple and complex, encompassing three layers: original story, the story of what went wrong, and the story of the cancellation. Not your usual picture book, though lately, there are many crashing through the “fourth wall” with reckless abandon. It’s a fun book to share with kids to stretch your minds and get the imagination rolling. (Admittedly, most kids don’t need help with that, it’s just us grownups.) It reminds me of another favorite, This is a Moose! by Richard Morris.
Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent resources.