Creepy Crayon! (Aaron Reynolds)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Creepy Crayon!, written by Aaron Reynolds and illustrated by Peter Brown, third in the pair’s Creepy series starring Jasper Rabbit.

At the opening of this entry, the reader finds Jasper struggling at school; in fact, art class seems to be the only place he is excelling. That is, until the day that Jasper happens upon a purple crayon dangling over the storm drain, one that seems… oddly happy to see him. When using the purple crayon in class, Jasper finds that the correct answers write themselves! He no longer has to concern himself with studying, as the crayon does all the work for him, earning praise from his teachers and classmates. However, Jasper begins to grow uncomfortable with his accolades, especially when the crayon begins taking over his art projects and writing creepy messages around him. How will Jasper find his way out of this spooky situation?

Genuine creeps with a subtle lesson. Reynolds and Brown have a knack for creating spooky picture books that perfectly walk the line of unsettling yet not overly scary, and this might be their best effort yet. Not only was JJ “spooked out” by the purple crayon, even I was legitimately starting to get the willies from this disquieting art supply! Best of all, underneath the creeps lies an important lesson on academic effort, particularly that a mediocre improvement earned through one’s hard work will always be more satisfying (and less stressful) than cheating or taking the easy way out. Brown’s grayscale-and-purple visuals are wonderfully atmospheric and often cinematic, the length is perfect for a storytime, and JJ and I both loved this one. A great title to check out during spooky season, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to the Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)