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donnaodonnellfigurski.com - A DAY WITH NO CRAYONS

A Day With No Crayons
Written by Elizabeth Rusch,
Illustrated by Chad Cameron

Publisher: Rising Moon
ISBN: 0873589106
Ages: 4-8

What do wild watermelon, tropical rain forest, dandelion, and neon carrot have in common?

Think pink . . . and green and yellow and orange. Think colors! When I think of colors, I think of fruit and vegetables. I think of the hundreds of color strips in the paint store. I think of bundles of yarn balls nestled on craft store shelves. And . . . I think of crayons.

The thought of crayons hurtles me back to memories of being six again. I think of the little yellow box filled with eight crayon colors, standing so tall. I remember their warm, waxy smell, and the soft and shiny feel of those slender sticks of magic. And, when I tug at the edges of my mind, I can uncover the utter disbelief of a day with no crayons. Truly unbearable! So, it’s not hard to understand Liza’s despair when her mother takes away her bucket of crayons . . . all because she drew a beautiful mural on her bedroom wall. Imagine!

But, Liza was not thwarted for long. Color was the essence of her being, and she soon realized that her world was as colorful as her crayons.

As Liza wandered through her neighborhood, she discovered the hues of brilliant orange tiger lilies, deep purple blackberries, laser-yellow dandelions, jungle-green blades of grass. Somehow each color smears itself on her pant legs, making them a rainbow delight. Hmmm!

Liza also discovered that a muddy, brown stick and an old, red brick could color her world, too. She used gray-green pebbles to make an ocean and pink rhododendron petals to create a glowing sunset.

As Liza crawled into bed that night, she surrounded herself with even more color . . . outrageous orchid and magic maize pillows. Her pink and blue blanket on her purple bed, her red skis and striped scarf and black and white soccer ball all flooded Liza’s world with color. What a world of color Liza discovered the day her mother took her crayons away!

Look for a complete review of this book at SmartWriters .

FROM the MOUTHS of KIDDLE CRITers: a critique group

“I love crayons,” said Abby.

“Liza likes crayons, too,” said Jewel.

“She liked her crayons so much,” said Andreo, “I bet she knew every color.”

“She made lots of pictures,” said Abby.

“But one day she ran out of paper,” said Johnny.

“Yeah, her paper was all gone,” said Mikaela. “And, she wondered what to do. She saw a blank wall.”

“So she colored on the wall,” interrupted Johnny. “She even made the plugs (wall sockets) into people.”

“She’s really creative,” said Jewel.

“Then her mother came and saw her and took her crayons away,” blurted Mikaela.

Callie nodded her head. “Liza felt sad.”

“She felt midnight-blue,” said Andreo.

“Since she had never drawn on the wall before, Liza didn’t know what the consequences would be,” explained Ethan.

“I thought she was going to get in major trouble,” said Jewel.

“My mom would ground me,” said Callie. “I would have nothing to do.”

“Maybe for a month,” offered Abby.

Callie rolled her eyes.

“Now, I’m not saying coloring on the wall is a good thing, but I’m glad she found a way to express herself,” said Ethan. Liza loved to draw so much, that she didn’t even let having no paper stop her. That’s what I call passion.”

“She could have gone to the store,” suggested Abby.

“I don’t think she could have waited to go to the store,” explained Ethan, “She liked to draw so much.”

“So when Liza went outside,” said Mikaela. “She stomped in the mud . . . “

“And crushed a dandelion,” said Andreo.

“ . . . And smeared it on her pants,” said Abby. “Then she finally realized that all around her was color, like . . . red, blue, green, and yellow.”

Jewel’s head was bobbing like a piston. She could barely contain herself. “Liza didn’t realize that there was all that color in the world. She thought that it was dull . . . like just black and white. Then she realized there was all this stuff she could use instead of crayons.”

“She was very creative to use the nature around her,” said Ethan. She renamed colors from nature. She might see a tree outside and instead of just calling it brown, she would recreate the color into Fudge-Brownie Brown or Grizzly-Bear Brown.”

“Or . . . Blue Pine-Tree, said Jewel with a giggle.

“She drew camels on the sidewalk,” said Callie.

“And she used a brick to draw a desert,” said Ethan. “And pebbles to make an ocean.

“And at the end, she drew a picture of herself on her floor with all these different things. She even used her dog for her face. I mean . . . I thought that was really cool,” said Abby.

“Liza didn’t have crayons,” said Ethan. “But she found another way to draw.

“Yeah!” agreed Jewel. “There is more stuff than just using crayons.”


TO DRAW OR NOT TO DRAW . . . JUST DRAW!: Language Arts/ Reading/ Science

Kids love to draw. They draw on blank white paper, or in coloring books. They sometimes draw on their faces and hands. I’ve had students draw on their desks and even on the floor. They know better, but they do it anyway. In A Day With No Crayons, Liza was surely old enough to know better, but she did it anyway, too.

So, if kids have this great inner desire to draw on walls, let them do it . . . well, not exactly on the wall, itself. BUT, let them use their creativity to pour out what they’ve learned from the non-fiction books you’ve read to them.

1. Read a nonfiction book about any theme you might be teaching. (insects, plants, etc.) I’ll use ladybugs for this example.
2. Tell the children to listen carefully and try to remember as many fun facts as they can about ladybugs.
3. Then, have them write two to three facts about ladybugs on lined paper.
4. Have them choose their favorite fact and help them to edit it.
5. After they write it in final form, cut it out, and set aside.
6. Next, hang a large sheet of butcher block paper on the wall.
7. Have each child draw a picture of a ladybug. (Be sure to space them out. A small dot on the paper can be the cue for where to draw.)
8. As each picture is completed, glue the fun fact next to the ladybug picture.
9. Don’t forget to have the children sign their work.

Ladybugs love to eat aphids.
Ladybugs can beat their wings 85 times per second.
Ladybugs are beetles.
Most ladybugs have spots.

IT'S ALL IN A COLORFUL NAME!: Language Arts/ Reading

In 1903, Binney and Smith, the creators of Crayola® crayons introduced their first set of eight crayon colors. (black, brown, blue, red, violet, orange, yellow and green) By 2003 when they celebrated their one-hundredth birthday, they increased their color range to one hundred-twenty radiant colors. But, why stop there? I say! Look around! We live in a world of limitless color.

In A Day With No Crayons, written by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Chad Cameron, Liza found color in places she least expected . . . in mud puddles, on red bricks, and on brown sticks. She found it in the pollen of flowers and pebbles along the ground. Color surrounded Liza.

Color surrounds your students, too. You can open their eyes and fill them with color by letting them create their own color names. But, first . . .

1. Take them on a “color” walk around the outside of their school. Ask them to find as many colors as they can in nature or in the environment.
2. Then, when you return, hang a large sheet of butcher-block paper on the wall and divide the paper into eight columns.
3. Label each column with one of the original eight colors. (black, brown, blue, red, violet, orange, yellow and green)
4. Next, brainstorm new color names (Ex. Coal Miner Black, TOADally Brown, Bluer Than Blueberry, Beating Heart Red, Violet Prune, Candlelight Orange, Lazy Yellow, Froggy Green) and write the new color names under the original color name on the butcher-block paper on the wall.
5. Encourage the children to make up their own color names and have them write them on the chart under the correct color.
6. Watch the list grow.
7. But, please remember to remind them not to color on the wall. You don’t want the Principal to take their crayons away for a day.

(Although I examined these websites and found them to be very helpful, please use them at your own discretion.)

Crayola Digi-Color
List of Crayola® Crayon Colors
Crayon History—Invention of Crayons


CRAYONS From Start to Finish written by Samuel G. Woods, photographs by Gale Zucker
The Crayon Box That Talked written by Shane DeRolf, illustrated by Michael Letzig
Go To Bed, Monster written by Natasha Wing, illustrated by Sylvie Kantorovitz
My Crayons Talk written by Patricia Hubbard, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
The Crayon Counting Book written by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Frank Mazzola, Jr.
Art Lesson written and illustrated by Tomie de Paola
Harold and the Purple Crayon written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson

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