Here is a chance to meet again the two mischievous little characters introduced in Monkey Nut. This time we find the friends with supersize crayons experimenting with colour. A tussle starts when the red character scribbles with his blue crayon on his blue friend’s page. A dazzling double spread shows the crayons engaged like swords against a medley of the words ‘red and ‘blue’. The red character’s blue crayon is broken during the fight to the huge distress of its owner. The blue character offers his unbroken red crayon to his friend only to be coloured in and turned a stripy purple! Another character appears, a small purple one, and the purple ones go off together. They find a lot more crayons and start to draw a house. The red character is left sadly watching until – thank goodness – his red crayon is needed to draw the roof.
Young children notice interesting things in picturebooks – for example they are sure to spot that the blue crayon does not appear again after it is broken. Some things cannot be mended. But there is an upbeat and satisfying end to the story: if you do something unkind people will not want to play with you – but you can be forgiven and allowed to join in.
The changing facial expressions and body orientations show the thoughts and feelings of the characters and will be a good talking point. And this is a book with great potential for leading to satisfying activities. All you need is paper and a box of crayons to absorb a child or small group.