Children Health

WordCount Review 07 | How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow | by Dr. Shradhdha Shah | Apr, 2024

Book Review: How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow by Monica Sweeney & Feronia Parker Thomas.

Dr. Shradhdha Shah

While working with a child earlier this week, I was reminded of the simple joys of friendship. All of 5, the young boy leafed through a copy of ‘How the Crayons Saved the Rainbow’ that waited for him on one side of his seat. Amid a pile of Harry Potter publications, colouring books and blank sheets of drawing paper, the boy decisively fished out this one.

The cover had a picture of 3 crayons with stick-sized hands and feet calling the shots on a rainbow overhead. Not very far above was a drawing of the Sun and the Clouds looking positively grumpy with arms folded stubbornly across their chests. It held the promise of a resolution even amid the conflict of grumpy characters.

The child flipped open the hard cover to the first page of the story. The illustration was vivid with the image of a smiley-faced Sun and a beaming Cloud, working together to to make beautiful rainbows!

A little later into the book, the friendship met hurdles that looked grave and irreparable. Enter the Friendly-Neighbourhood-Crayons!

Slowly but surely, they worked their magic to bring the Cloud/s closer to the Sun. The friendship began to blossom once more and the world began to see Rainbows again!

While the young child scrolled through the illustrations, his eyes searched hungrily for the resolution at the end of the book. He even skipped to the last page for a moment before returning to the story-line. While his mother described his medical history, he was exploring his life-sized thoughts through the life of each crayon. When it was his turn to speak, he spoke of his troubles in class, where he struggled to keep his friends together just like the Crayons did. His mind was able to articulate his inner world through the mirror of the Crayon-characters and relieve the reality of his anxieties.

Even as he described the problem, he fleshed out possible solutions. He recognised that the Crayons had shifted the focus from the conflict onto the resolution. In his words, “they were con(cen)trating on the colouring” and not on the estranged Clouds or Sun. He continued to share that he wanted to now “con-trate (read concentrate) on playing” rather than the words of others.

He looked positively relieved with this conclusion and went on to explore the other books by his side. I will only know of the symptomatic follow-up only in a fortnight, but I know without a doubt that he paved a path to walk out of trouble and into health.

The Crayons did indeed save a Rainbow that day afterall!

First published here: | 2017

This review was part of the WordCount book review column (2013 to 2020) run by our clinic in Mumbai and later shred with patients in Pondichery, Bangalore, London, Paris, Poznan and Croatia. I’m re-sharing these for readers in 2024 for issues that remain as relevant, even though the children who responded well to these books are now adulting in their own and unbelievable ways.

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