Friday, April 26, 2019

The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow book review

I love this book! I think I was drawn in by the colorful cover, but also because my life is filled with crayons because of my kids.  I did not know the Crayola story, so as an adult, I really learned a lot from this beautiful picture book. I did not know that Edwin Binney was the inventor of Crayola crayons. Readers will be taken on his journey of discovery and how crayons came to be. There are actually a lot of scientific facts in this story. For example, readers will learn (in a sidebar) that “ground-up rocks and minerals made bright pigments for colors: red iron oxide (hematite) for red, yellow iron oxide (deothite) for yellow, carbon for black…” Then in the text the story of the name is told. The author wrote that “let’s mix the French word craie for stick of chalk, and the world ola from the word oleaginous, meaning oily like the oily texture of the crayon wax, to invent a new word CraieOla...Crayola. Edwin listened.” The crayons were introduced at the 1904 World Fair and were a huge success. Readers will also get to see picture of crayons being produced today. The author notes at the end are worth reading. The illustrator did a great job bring the story to life. The illustrations seem to be done in crayon and are happy, bright and the character expressions help to tell the story. 

Straight Talk for Librarians: This book is a good example of a non-fiction picture book. It can tie into American history or to visual arts. The story makes for a good read aloud, but the side notes are better for independent or guided reading. It would look great on a display and garner a lot of reader attention. If there was a special event, a great tie in would be to give away boxes of Crayola Crayons. Readers would love it. There is a lot of attention paid to the names of all the different colors, that could be turned into a library activity. If you are in an IB school, readers can discuss how Edward Binney was a risk-taker and knowledgeable. It also fits in really well to a few MYP Global Contexts, namely scientific and technical innovation and personal and cultural expression. This book is a great purchase for a school library.

Author website:
Publisher: @HMHKids

Review by Klaudia Janek @kjanek 

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous review, Klaudia! I will be buying that book for both libraries where I teach.