Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Crayon Man

The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons. Natascha Biebow. Illustrated by Steven Salerno. 2019. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 First sentence: Once there was a man who saw color everywhere.

Premise/plot: The Crayon Man is a picture book biography of Edward Binney the creator of crayons.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved this one. The narrative is well written. It's packed with information--which I loved. Plenty of information is included within the sidebars. But at its heart it remains an entertaining story.
Edwin invented a new kind of inexpensive slate pencil that wrote very smoothly--it was gray. Children loved it! He invented a kind of chalk that wasn't dusty and didn't crumble--it was white. Teachers loved it! He invented a wax crayon that would write on wood and paper packaging. It was really, really black. People loved it. 
Edwin's wife was a former school teacher. She told him that children needed better, cheaper crayons. So he set about inventing something that would work.
In a large tub at the mill, Edwin's team measured out the ingredients: melted wax, clay to thicken, something for texture, colored powders, each in just the right amount every time to make...a top secret formula. Slowly, carefully, stirring by hand, they poured the special formula into thin, crayon-shaped molds, smaller than any other inventors' just the right size for children's hands. The mixture cooled and hardened. Edwin watched, and Edwin waited.
The illustrations are fabulous.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 10 out of 10

© 2019 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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