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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Book Trailer Premiere: RED – A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

I’m pleased as punch to be premiering the book trailer for Michael Hall’s rather magnificent picture book RED today.  The simple tale of a blue crayon labelled with a red wrapper, it’s rather subtle and brilliant.  Naturally I wanted to know where Hall got the idea for it in the first place.  Here’s his response to that query:

My interest in crayons began when I fell in love with Mickey Myers’ Crayola prints (see below) in the 80s. Crayons — when represented in two dimensions on paper — make an appealing subject. They are also joyful and unpretentious, and they can work as a metaphor for many things. I used them several times in my graphic design work.

At one point, I made a series of drawings by scribbling one entire crayon—until the crayon was too small to hold—onto a piece of toothy paper and gluing the crayon’s label below the drawing. Each one seemed like a picture of a life. There were many variations; one of them involved pairing one colored scribble with a different colored label.

Later, when I began making picture books, I knew that at least one of them would be about crayons, and the mismatched label idea seemed like a good place to start.

At first, I couldn’t let go of some of the more grown-up aspects of the metaphor. My first draft followed Red, a blue crayon with a red label, until he was completely used up, and the crayons put his label to rest in a grassy field. The berry crayon delivered the eulogy: “When I look up at the clouds, I can’t help but feel that he’s still with us.” And the last page — a picture of the ceremony beneath a crayoned blue sky — read: “And he still was.”

Needless to say the tale is vastly different from this first draft.  No crayon funerals are in evidence now.  Just a great book with a kicker of an ending.

Enjoy the trailer!

Many thanks to the folks at Harper Collins for passing it along.

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About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.