The shadowing group for the age 4-7 category met again to discuss the next two books on the list – Z is for Moose by Kelly L. Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky (Andersen Press) and The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers (Harper Collins).
We started with Z is for Moose which was enjoyed by most of the group but there were a few who didn’t get why everyone else liked it so much. Personally, I loved it and was so happy to see it make the shortlist. It actually makes me snort when I read it which has a lot to do with the illustrations. There’s just something about that moose and his impatience and no-holds-barred excitement about his upcoming moment. You see this in children every day so I think they would really relate to it and his subsequent disappointment on missing out. There is also a lovely message at the end about understanding why your friend might feel angry sometimes and forgiving them. A worry for some of the group was that, even though it is aimed at ages 3+, children may need a grasp of the alphabet to really get the humour. The other issue with the book was that it was up against The Day the Crayons Quit! Stiff competition indeed. Z for Moose might be a Marmite book of sorts though – love it or leave it.
Moving on to the second book, The Day the Crayons Quit, which was not actually written by Oliver Jeffers! Yes, he only illustrated it (wonderfully of course) but we must give credit to the author, Drew Daywalt who, unusually for a children’s author, also makes horror films. Ooh, The Day the Crayons…..Killed maybe? Actually I did just read that Daywalt and Jeffers are writing a Crayons sequel so you never know. Anyway, this book is wonderful as most of you already know. The only criticism was that it does actually take quite a while to read aloud, but you could skip some of the crayons’ letters if you were short on time. The group found that it could also work with children older than the 4-7 category and would be very useful to open up areas for exploration, e.g. diversity, stereotyping, art, letter writing, giving a voice to everyday objects. It was also noted that the book could be used for contextualised grammar teaching as the author uses word play and makes careful choices about where he places words and how he structures his sentences in order to give each crayon a clear personality.
The general consensus was that The Day the Crayons Quit was the victor that day but a few defiant rebels voted for Z is for Moose (well, The Days the Crayons Quit has won enough awards already I say). Have you read or used either of these books? What did you think?