One word, many stories — Red

red the book

I love Michael Hall’s Red: A Crayon’s Story. “He was red. But he wasn’t very good at it.” I’ve had days, weeks, months like that.

It’s the story of a crayon who doesn’t do what’s expected of him. His strawberries turn out blue. He has one disappointment after another. Adults speculate on whether he might just be lazy, instead of noticing that he just is NOT red. Then he realizes that he is different but wonderfully different. In other hands, the story might seem heavy or overdone, but here everything fits. The art is perfect, too, with crayon characters who are tall or short depending on their age. The silver and gray crayons are even short little, worn-down crayon grandparents. Excellent! Older kids love and understand this book just as younger kids do.

I’ll be using it soon in a family story time about colors, and I like that it’s not what you’d expect in a book about colors. Other wonderful books about color:

Living Color by Steve Jenkins and Edible Colors by Heather Vogel Bass show how colorful and surprising the world around us is. Both books are visually beautiful and full of interesting things to look at.

Crockett Johnson’s classic, Harold and the Purple Crayon, is an old favorite. Journey by Aaron Becker also takes the reader on an exciting trip into imagination, using colors to highlight important parts of the story.

And then we might just Mix It Up! with Hervé Tullet. Throw in a little music and a color wheel, and we’ve got a party, people!


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