Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary
Author: Natascha Biewbow
Illustrator: Steven Salerno
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Edwin loves color but works all day in a factory where all he sees is black. While the factory produces many useful and needful things, Edwin listens to those around him and knows that the factory people, children especially, want a better way to capture the beauty of the colors all around them. He gets to work inventing, and eventually he succeeds, creating the booming Crayola company that still exists today.
The Crayon Man is a wonderful piece of nonfiction, perfectly suited for a young audience. The author and artist work together to create a historically accurate story. Biewbow states facts in a way that flows together throughout the story, making this book feel more like a narrative than a textbook. Steven Salerno uses charcoal crayon, gouache, and digital color illustration styles to capture the meaning of the story, allowing readers to stay engaged throughout. Just as the characters in the story seemed to gain more access to color as Edwin invents his crayons, the pictures within the book grow more colorful as the story goes along. This book is a marvelous read for young children accustomed to picture books and is a fantastic introduction to biographies. Biewbow includes a bibliography showing her research and providing more sources for readers should they be interested in learning more.