SNAP! - Hazel Hutchins & Dušan Petričić

What could be more perfect than a brand new set of crayons? Evan can't wait to use them, until Snap! the brown one breaks in two. Then one by one, the others break, get crushed, are blown away, or simply disappear. How can he possibly draw when there's no green, purple, or even black?

Evan feels like throwing things, but instead, he scribbles using all the bits and pieces that are left. But what's this? Where yellow and blue cross, there's green, and when blue and red get all mixed up, it creates just the right purple to draw monsters. Soon, all he's left with are tiny stubs of red, yellow, and blue, but Evan discovers that even with just a few crayons, he can create new and exciting art--his imagination is the only tool he needs.

I do need to admit that I'm a bit partial to Dušan Petričić already since he was the illustrator of two books that ended up on the TD Canadian Children's Literature Prize shortlist in 2014, and one of them (The Man with the Violin) won the prize! While he does have a signature manic style which uses colour and lines to express emotion and energy to great effect, each book does differ and keeps his work fresh.

The book is both a fun story about creativity, frustration, and the ways in which hardships (no matter how small) ensure the use of imagination in problem solving. Evan's crayons are quite as sturdy as he wants them to be, and they break, which makes him start to think about ways of using crayons differently. The result is explosively colourful! Evan's various experiments lead him to find new uses for his crayons, and allow him to discover new colours (see above).

The ending even careens into the world of metafiction and gives Evan freedom to start his own storytelling and engage children in their own ability to make up tales and create new worlds around them.


(Note: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out September 22, 2015)


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