The Crayon Man

The Crayon Man[BOOKS] ✯ The Crayon Man Author Natascha Biebow – Oaklandjobs.co.uk Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon This picture book biography tells the story of Edwin Binney the inventor of one of the world's most beloved stationary supplies purple mountains’ majes Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon This picture book biography tells the story of Edwin Binney the inventor of one of the world's most beloved stationary supplies purple mountains’ majesty mauvelous jungle green razzmatazz What child doesn't love to hold a crayon in their hands  But children didn't always have such magical boxes of crayons Here’s the true story of an inventor who so loved The Crayon MOBI :¼ nature’s vibrant colors that he found a way to bring the outside world to children – in a box for only a nickel. Someone once pointed out to me that a good 30% of my reviews start out with me saying in one form or another something along the lines of “I didn’t think I’d like this book but then I read it blah blah blah amazing blah blah blah original blah blah blah go read it” And the jury finds me guilty as charged See writing original reviews can be tricky so it’s easy for a reviewer to fall into some old established read brainless methods of putting words to a page I mean it’s not like it’s untrue when I write that stuff I really didn’t think I’d like the book in uestion but even so do you know what I never care to examine in those reviews? Whether or not my inexperience with the subject matter has given a rosy colored tint to the book itself Would I be as gaga about it if I hadn’t walked in with lowered expectations? It’s not the kind of thing that’s easy to ascertain Naturally all of this brings us to The Crayon Man by Natascha Biebow and Steven Salerno Here we have yet another book that I viewed initially with distain I mean a picture book biography of the man who invented Crayola? Doesn’t that just make this book essentially a 40 page advertisement for a product? As per usual I read it loved it and started proselytizing it to anyone in my immediate vicinity Lowered expectations aside though is it actually any good? Let’s take into account the writing the subject matter the art and the accuracy A nonfiction picture book biography is only as good as the sum of its parts And these parts? Good to the last dropRunning a company that specializes in the color black would seem to be an unlikely beginning for the future creator of Crayola crayons but that’s how Edwin Binney started out His company sold the carbon black pigment that got used in everything from shoe polish to rubber car tires An inventor at heart Binney listened when his wife a former schoolteacher told him that the world needed better cheaper crayons After much trial and error experimentation and failure and moments of inspiration Binney had it down Not by himself Not alone But with the help of others along the way who together made the world a little colorfulRight from the start I liked what Biebow was laying down here She knows how to use repetition to keep the reader interested She places little text boxes of facts in the margins for those readers that would like to learn This is perfect for readers of different age levels and interests too Then in the text itself not even the art Biebow lists Binney's prior accomplishments The gray slate pencil the white chalk and the black crayon that wasn’t really for kids She doesn’t shy away from the chemistry that went into making this new iteration of crayons I also couldn’t help but love that Biebow drills home the idea that Binney’s genius came not from his own cranium but because he listened to other people’s advice This is particularly true of his wife The book makes a point to repeat that Binney listened to her whether she was telling him that kids needed better crayons in the first place or when she personally came up with the name Crayola from the French word for stick “craie” and “ola” from the work “oleaginous” Okay but let’s get back to a concern I had walking into this book Is it in fact a walking advertisement for Crayola? Putting aside the fact that Crayola’s pretty much the only name brand crayon a person can think of off the top of their heads there’s no denying that the book paints Binney in a pretty sunny light Yet there’s also no getting around the fact that here we have a man dedicated to making something fun for kids There’s a lot to be said for writing a biography about a product that children have not only heard of but also taken for granted Crayons are so ubiuitous to the childhood of a number of American children that this might actually be a book they take an interest in Finally consider the cover Think about how easy it could have been to take the word “Crayola” and make it bigger bolder and prominent Instead it’s suirreled away in the subtitle without so much as a different colored font The focus here is on the man not the company for the most part So impressed was I by Biebow’s skills at the nonfiction picture book bio form that I skipped on ahead to her biographical bookflap to see what else she’d done You can imagine my surprise when I found that this book is in fact her nonfiction debut Apparently she just knows how to knock ‘em out of the park on a first go round Honestly when I’m reading other biographies and hitting things like fake dialogue false histories made up characters etc I kind of want to grab this book and hand it to those other authors saying “Look Look You don’t have to rely on any of that garbage You can make a book fun and interesting and accurate without all of that See?” Because it isn’t just the writing of the book itself that wins a person over It’s the backmatter For a woman who grew up watching the episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood where they see how crayons get made the full color photographic section “How Crayola Crayons Are Made Today” just hit all my buttons Then you get a full page of additional info on Binney himself And then finally you get the motherload A Selected Bibliography that separates itself out into Primary Sources subdivided into “Print” and “Interviews Correspondence” and Secondary Sources subdivided into “Books Articles” “Websites” and “Videos” And yes that old Mister Rogers video? It’s there in the Bibliography Wonder of wonder miracles of miracles Selecting Steven Salerno to do the art in this book was an inspired choice Salerno’s not unfamiliar with picture book biographies having worked on titles like Brothers at Bat and Pride His is a difficult artistic style to describe It is above all distinctive Would you like to know the difference between a good picture book biography and a really good picture book biography? The difference is in the details Take the opening of this book Biebow writes about a man who loved color but ran a company that worked almost exclusively in the medium of black Seeing an opportunity Salerno takes this opening and works hard to make that contrast palpable Standing amidst reds blues yellows purples blues and greens is an Edwin Binney with a happy upturned mustache Turn the page and the colors are muted considerably overwhelmed by the soot and dark colors of the factory Binney stands in the same position but his mustache has drooped considerably That mustache by the way should get a supporting role nomination alongside his eyebrows The two facial hairpieces work in tandem to clarify the man’s moods confusion and thought process If I could change anything about the art I might try to give it a greater range of ethnicities It is entirely possibly that Binney employed an all white workforce That said just because you’ve placed your book in the past that doesn’t mean you can’t work in a diverse array of people in other places For example for the section on the 1904 World’s Fair in St Louis I couldn’t help but notice that the throngs of people were all white Not the case in real life and unnecessary here I’m afraid There are other little moments that like that could have given the book a depth it lacks in this area A missed opportunity to give this book a little actual colorSome wag will probably say if they haven’t already that it seems strange that a picture book biography of Edwin Binney isn’t illustrated in the medium of crayons An interesting point I’m sure Would a crayon illustrated version of Binney’s life be better for its reliance on his preferred form? Or would it just be a kind of unnecessary gimmick? Only one way to find out Clearly there need to be books on Binney out there But since the likelihood of any of them being uite as good as this one is slim I’m happy to stick with Biebow and Salerno’s creation in the meantime It’s just the ideal combination of great writing without cheating It’s filled with facts and backmatter but also makes the subject interesting to kids It’s beautiful to look at and while I would have made some changes it stands as a pretty darn good look at a man a plan a crayon Crayola On shelves now Imagine you love nature and all the colors of the world Now imagine you're an inventor but all day long you're surrounded by black black dust black tar black ink What do you do? Well if your name is Edwin Binney you invent crayonsThis colorful engaging book describes the history and the chemistry which led to the development of Crayola crayons while also being accessible to young readers A 2 page photo spread showing modern day crayon manufacturing at the Crayola factory a brief biopic of Edwin Binney and a selected bibliography complete this picture book There's something about a new box of crayons that inspires creativity This book produces a similar call to action and has me reaching for a sheet of paper and some of my favorite colors First sentence Once there was a man who saw color everywherePremiseplot The Crayon Man is a picture book biography of Edward Binney the creator of crayonsMy thoughts I loved loved loved this one The narrative is well written It's packed with information which I loved Plenty of information is included within the sidebars But at its heart it remains an entertaining story Edwin invented a new kind of inexpensive slate pencil that wrote very smoothly it was gray Children loved it He invented a kind of chalk that wasn't dusty and didn't crumble it was white Teachers loved it He invented a wax crayon that would write on wood and paper packaging It was really really black People loved it Edwin's wife was a former school teacher She told him that children needed better cheaper crayons So he set about inventing something that would work In a large tub at the mill Edwin's team measured out the ingredients melted wax clay to thicken something for texture colored powders each in just the right amount every time to makea top secret formula Slowly carefully stirring by hand they poured the special formula into thin crayon shaped molds smaller than any other inventors' just the right size for children's hands The mixture cooled and hardened Edwin watched and Edwin waited The illustrations are fabulous Text 5 out of 5Illustrations 5 out of 5Total 10 out of 10 Of course this book immediately made me remember the infamous Mister Rogers video about how crayons are made It also gave me a sudden sense memory of opening a new box of crayons Their smell and their sharp points This is a fun picture book biography of Edwin Binney who invented the first child friendly and mass producible crayons we still know as Crayola I loved the details about how he listened to his wife's advice which was always good advice and tried different approaches with the help of a teamBackmatter is impressive a set of step by step photos from the Crayola factory in Easton PA; a short bio of Edwin Binney; and a selected bibliography with primary and secondary sources AND the very Mister Rogers video I was rememberingColorful expressive llustrations by Steven Salerno are done in charcoal crayon gouache and digital color What's not to love about learning how the original Crayola crayon was invented? Who would have thought it was such a crazy thing based on what kinds of materials kids had to draw with before and then figuring out the science behind creating the perfect artistic utensil with bright vivid coloring to let our imaginations fly And that's exactly was Edwin Binney did let his imagination fly in the factory as he perfected the techniue coming home every day drenched in color and with the ingenious naming by his wife of a combination of two French words created Crayola The world is our oyster and this picture book biography demonstrates that He was such a fun guy it seems I love this COLORFUL story about the inventor of Crayola crayons Makes me appreciate them and want to go color a picture The back matter is excellent too photos color of course showing the process of making Crayola crayons today and a selected bibliography Meet Edwin Binney the creator of the Crayola Crayon who brought color to a dreary black and white world Covers the original history of crayons includes photographic timeline of how crayons are made what was used to dye the new colors Beautiful illustrations and fun read The vocabulary of the book is meant for a 3rd grade reading level or for the kid to be read to but it was a fun exploration of art and science This is a tale of color innovation and persistence Edwin Binney wanted to bring effective and inexpensive color into the world for children and his invention has been used by generations of children Backmatter includes scenes from the Crayola factory showing how crayons are made today Perseverance creativity and problem solving Excellent sidebar notes and word study about the origin of crayons 🖍 I love this book I think I was drawn in by the colorful cover but also because my life is filled with crayons because of my kids I actually did not know the Crayola story so I really learned a lot from this beautiful picture book I did not know that Edwin Binney was the inventor of Crayola crayons Readers will be taken on his journey of discovery and how crayons came to be There are actually a lot of scientific facts in this story For example readers will learn in a sidebar that “ground up rocks and minerals made bright pigments for colors red iron oxide hematite for red yellow iron oxide deothite for yellow carbon for black” Then in the story text the story of the name is told The author wrote that “let’s mix the French word craie for stick of chalk and the world ola from the word oleaginous meaning oily like the oily texture of the crayon wax to invent a new word CraieOlaCrayola Edwin listened” The crayons were introduced at the 1904 World Fair and were a huge success Readers will also get to see picture of crayons being produced today The author notes at the end are worth reading The illustrator did a great job bring the story to life The illustrations seem to be done in crayon and are happy bright and the character expressions help to tell the story Straight Talk for Librarians This book is a good example of a non fiction picture book It can tie into American history or to visual arts The story makes for a good read aloud but the side notes are better for independent or guided reading It would look great on a display and garner a lot of reader attention If there was a special event a great tie in would be to give away boxes of Crayola Crayons Readers would love it There is a lot of attention paid to the names of all the different colors that could be turned into a library activity If you are in an IB school readers can discuss how Edward Binney was a risk taker and knowledgeable It also fits in really well to a few MYP Global Contexts namely scientific and technical innovation and personal and cultural expression This book is a great purchase for a school library