CM . . .
. Volume XXII Number 12. . . .November 20, 2015
For young children like Evan, boxes of crayons never have a long life span. The wax colouring tools get used up, destroyed, or disappear soon after the package is opened. Hazel Hutchins and Dušan Petricic’s vibrant book, Snap!, reveals the discoveries Evan makes as his brand new set of crayons slowly but steadily deteriorates on him. With the use of his imagination, Evan’s attitude switches from angry and frustrated to curious and innovative. Shortly after his first crayon snaps, he explores new ways to use the crayons with which he is left.
Given the context of the story, Petricic appropriately created the illustrations using a variety of bright colours. The dominant shade of Evan’s multicoloured face becomes different depending on his emotions. Many of the illustrations portray what is made out to be Evan’s artwork, which looks much like real drawings you would see from children of the target audience’s age group. Each of the elements of art is evident throughout the text: colour, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value. Based on what is going on in the text, the illustrator employs various techniques. In some instances, Petricic creates rubbings (over raised objects, including a comb, a loonie, a safety pin, a key, and a paper clip), in other cases harsh scribbles, and elsewhere, fine lines and details. Early years teachers might choose to use this book as an introduction to primary and secondary colours and/or the mixing of colours. Evan notices that, “as if by magic”, when the blue from his moon mixes with the yellow from his sun, it creates the perfect shade of green that he was missing for his leaf drawing.
Although the illustrations alone can be used to tell the story, Hutchins includes the rampant thoughts emanating from Evan’s imagination as it runs wild. The author captures the rollercoaster of epiphanies and associated emotional reactions. Hutchins’ clever use of onomatopoeias such as “snap”, “scritch”, and “whoosh” create a stronger mental image for the reader. This literary device lends itself to the illustrations.
We enjoyed Petricic’s clever use of metafiction in that the images of his endpapers appear as components within the story itself. Evan folds those endpapers to create a conveyance upon which he can set out on further journeys of discovery.
Hutchins and Petricic have teamed up as author and illustrator in the past to create the award-winning Mattland. Hutchins has written over 30 children’s books. Petricic’s artwork has appeared around the world. We believe that Snap! is a fun read-aloud story for a young audience. Students may even be inspired to snap their own crayons and see where their imaginations take them.
Andrea Boyd is a student in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba. She enjoys reading children’s literature and travelling around the globe.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.