THE FORGOTTEN CRAYON
Written and Illustrated by Yoko Maruyama
Michael Neugebauer Edition 1/1/2020
32 Pages Age 3—7
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Fiction
Themes: Participation, Creativity, Inclusion, Feelings
A boxful of brand-new crayons is excited to begin a new adventure when a boy named Lucas brings them home and starts using them to make pictures. Except that Lucas never, ever uses the white crayon for any of his drawings. And when he decides he needs a new set of crayons, that crayon is still just as tall and just as clean as the day it was bought. Poor white crayon fells so dejected!
But when a girl named Olivia stumbles upon the unused crayon, she’s delighted. She draws her own kinds of pictures, and that white crayon is exactly what she needs. One boy’s trash is another girl’s treasure . . . Here’s a funny, heartwarming story that not only shows how things can be used in different ways, but also reinforces the lesson that everyone feels good when they have a chance to participate.(from jacket flap)
“Twelve brand-new crayons waited in their brand-new box. Their hearts were filled with expectations, wondering who would choose them.”
Why I like The Forgotten Crayon
When Lucas brings the new box of crayons home, each crayon has high expectations. Every color wants to participate in creating Lucas’ artwork. Soon, it is clear; Lucas enthusiastically uses all the crayons until they are mere stubs. Though these crayons are much shorter, they are very happy . . . all but the white crayon, which Lucas never uses, not even once. When Lucas wants a new box of crayons, his mother places his old set into the yard sale.
A young girl named Olivia looks inside the crayon box. Overjoyed by what she sees, Olivia takes the crayons home from the yard sale. Olivia finally finds the crayon she needs—a white crayon, and it still looks as good as new. She uses the white crayon until it, too, is short but happy. All the crayons want to participate in a child’s drawings. With Olivia finally using the white crayon, making it as short as the other used crayons, the entire box of stubby, used crayons are very happy.
Lucas made his drawings as most kids might. He took out his white paper and used the colorful crayons to draw trees, Halloween objects, and a summer lake with a boat afloat on its waters. With white paper, and never combining the colors, Lucas has no need for the white crayon.
Olivia uses paint to create her pictures. First, she uses the white crayon to draw in objects or areas where she does not want her paint sticking to the paper. She draws a blue ocean with white jellyfish floating about and a green forest with a white unicorn appearing near a tree. This works because water—and watercolor paints—do not stick to a (white) crayon’s wax.
The Forgotten Crayon is impressive in its simplicity. Child-like drawings show children two different ways in which crayons can creatively to make pictures. (And, that creativity varies from person to person.) Children will see the unsmiling face of the white crayon and understand it feels left out and therefore sad. All the crayons want to participate in Lucas and Olivia’s art. They might remember this when playing and include every child who wants to play, such as when choosing sides for dodge-ball or other team sports. Children will love the smiles upon the crayons’ faces when happy and frowns when sad. Children may even laugh at these animated crayons.
Ms. Maruyama’s illustrations are colorful, delightful images of crayons and two kids being creative. When showing what each child creates, the author/illustrator drew child-like images that most any child is capable of creating. Some children might even see themselves in Lucas or Olivia. The Forgotten Crayon will easily make readers smile. Thinking about the lonely white crayon, readers will understand its desire to participate in Lucas’ art. Young children will love The Forgotten Crayon for its relate-ability, its colorful canvas, and its simple message of inclusion.
The Forgotten Crayon will become many youngsters’ favorite story, very quickly.
I really like The Forgotten Crayon. It uses items children easily recognize and use daily to teach inclusion. That’s brilliant.
As for my “favorite” scene in the story, it would be the crayons themselves. When Olivia declares she has found a new white crayon, the entire box of crayons smiles, not just the white crayon. Olivia only uses the white crayon in her art, but I bet all those crayons continued to smile as the white crayon becomes as stubby as its eleven colorful mates.
Available at Amazon
THE FORGOTTEN CRAYON. Copyright © 2020 by Yoko Maruyama. Published by Michael Neugebauer Edition/Minedition, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong.
Copyright © 2020 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
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