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)