Mentor Text Review: The Day the Crayons Quit

6 traits of writing voice mentor text
  • Author: Drew Daywalt
  • llustrator: Oliver Jeffers
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt (with illustrations by Oliver Jeffers) is a hilarious book about a group of crayons who are unhappy with the treatment they’re receiving from their owner, Duncan. The crayons each write a letter to the boy to let him know how they’re feeling and how he can improve.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: This book is often used as an excellent mentor text for teaching persuasive writing. Each crayon has a different perspective and they back that up with reasons supporting their argument. Some do it more effectively than others (who do you think is the most convincing? Why? What have they done to get Duncan to understand and believe them?) In addition to persuasive writing, this book is a great example of an author finding an idea for writing by thinking and wondering about the everyday things around them. It’s a small, manageable and common problem- some crayons get used more than others- I wonder how they each feel about that?

ORGANISATION: Each letter could be studied to investigate the structure of both the letter and the argument it is presenting. How has the crayon given evidence for their argument?

WORD CHOICE, SENTENCE FLUENCY and CONVENTIONS all work together to create the unique VOICE of each crayon. Investigate how two crayons can both be upset but how their voices can be different.

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

DETERMINING IMPORTANCE: What are the most important points being put forward by each crayon? How can you tell the difference between interesting and important (to their argument)?

INFERRING: Because there are so many different variations of crayons being angry in this book it would be an ideal opportunity to teach a broader vocabulary around this. Introduce students to more nuanced language for describing the emotion represented by each crayon (e.g., exhausted, despondent, frustrated, undervalued, enraged, furious, irate, offended, sullen, sulky, cross, tired). Once students are familiar with the words, have them reread the crayons’ letters and select a matching emotion/tone. Unpack all the evidence available in each letter that help create this feeling. Look at the greeting, sentence lengths, use of capital letters and punctuation.