Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Red is a crayon, and children will see his problem right away: his label reads "red," but he's blue. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he's a poor performer in school, where his drawings are expected to be red. Hall (It's an Orange Aardvark!) has a fine ear for dialogue, and the overly cheerful encouragement Red endures will sound familiar to any child who's struggled to perform: "I'll draw a red strawberry, then you draw a red strawberry," coaches the scarlet crayon. "You can do this. Really!" But a page turn reveals two rows of strawberries, one scarlet and the other... blue. A Greek chorus of grown-up crayons lined up across a black spread makes patronizing comments: "He's got to press harder." "Really apply himself!" Only when Red is at his wit's end does he meet Berry, a crayon who actually sees him. "Will you make a blue ocean for my boat?" Berry asks quietly, and that's all it takes to change Red's life. Stories about accepting differences abound, but this one delivers its message in an unexpectedly affecting way. Ages 4-8. Agent: Anna Olswanger, Olswanger Literary. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
PreS-K-Step inside the life of a crayon in this funny and poignant picture book. The star of the show is Red, a blue crayon who mistakenly has a red label. His teacher tries to convince him to draw strawberries, but they show up blue. He tries on a red scarf, but it just does not match. His mother suggests he mixes with other colors, but the results are not what he expects. No matter how hard Red tries, his efforts just keep coming out blue. His other crayon friends try to help him reinvent himself, but no matter what they do, Red is still a blue crayon. After much self-doubt and denial, Red makes a new friend, a Berry-colored crayon, who asks him to complete his drawing by adding a blue ocean for his boat. Red gives it a go, and suddenly, he finds his true self and discovers what his other art-supply friends knew all along. The rest of his crayon friends are impressed with his new style, and Red comes to embrace his true identity. Hall's latest picture book is all about staying true to oneself, no matter what others say. The illustrations emulate children's artwork, giving readers a great opportunity to identify colors and new vocabulary. Large, clear text make this perfect for a read-aloud, as well as independent reading. VERDICT Reminiscent of Drew Daywalt's The Day the Crayons Quit (Philomel, 2013), this witty and heartwarming book is sure to become a favorite for children and adults alike.-Natalie Braham, Denver Public Library (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Red is blue he can't seem to color anything correctly. Other crayons try to help, to no avail. His parents and grandparents worry. Everyone is afraid there is something wrong with Red until Purple, who has drawn a fine boat, asks him to draw a blue ocean. At first, Red says he can't, but Purple insists he try. Children who know their colors will immediately see what's wrong: Red's paper sleeve has been mistakenly put on a blue crayon! Readers will share all the emotional elements of the tale humor, despair, sadness, frustration, and finally, excitement as Red (and all the other crayons) witness and take pride in his success. The solid text is matched by the eye-catching artwork. Often placed against pages of shiny white or black, the crayons and their scribblings will charm children (who will also get the message that when it comes to creativity, strawberries and hearts can also be colored blue). Adults may have to help younger kids catch the nuances of size and color, such as the slightly worn-down brown and olive-green crayons for parents, and short, stubby silver and gray crayons for grandparents. There's lots to look at here. This fresh approach to colors and feelings will be great for sharing one-on-one or in a larger group.--Petty, J. B. Copyright 2015 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Crayon Red may be labeled red, but he colors blue, which creates no end of frustration for all the other crayons, and thus Red himself. The other crayons (in humorously labeled colors, heights, and degrees of sharpness, including short, stubby Silver and Gray grandparents) and art supplies advocate solutions such as practice, mixing with other colors, and wearing something warmer, but Red still colors blue, and the illustrations make it clear to readers that he always will. In one visually effective double-page spread, the other crayons stand up in a row on a black background evaluating the situation, and responses include "He came that way from the factory," "Frankly, I don't think he's very bright," and "Well, I think he's lazy"; Army Green thinks pressing harder is the answer, and the Sunshine crayon thinks he just needs more time to catch on. Red continues to struggle until new friend Berry asks him to make a blue ocean for her. Once he lets go of his label and proclaims, "I'm blue!" everything turns around, and so do the minds of all the other crayons. Though the metaphor here occasionally veers close to heavy-handed, the smart design, bold colors, and sharp details keep the story both effective and amusing. julie roach (c) Copyright 2015. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
When a red-labeled crayon discovers he's actually blue, he finds joy, ebullience and acceptance.Red tries to be a quintessential red crayon, coloring fire trucks, strawberries, hearts and cherries, but no matter the object, they all turn blue. Fellow crayons begin to gossip. Some say he needs to press harder or grow out of it; others say he's lazy or unintelligent. The other art supplies offer a makeover, taping and snipping away. But all fail to look beyond Red's wrapper to what's inside. Until Berry asks him to draw something blue. When Red succeeds, he feels free! He feels himself, and drawing becomes a delight. The personified crayons change their tune, claiming to have always known his true color. Digital illustrations, done in a graphic, cut-paper style in a primary palette, pop on their white or black backgrounds. And while the crayons themselves are not expressive, Hall's compositions, manipulation of text, and simulated graphite and crayon markings convey a strong sense of emotion. Finding strength in his difference, Red captures that feeling of ease, self-acceptance and freedom in an exuberant, far-reaching sky. Smartly designed and appealing, Red's story offers much for discussion and affirmation. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.