The Brand-New, Never-Used, Perfect Crayons

I am a sucker for art supplies. Like most artists I know, I’m a coveter, a collector, a hoarder of them.

Every time I am drawn into an art supply store I am mesmerized. Overwhelmed by a feeling of “must have.” 

I am beckoned by pencils and paints and papers. Never mind that I have the exact same unused or only partially-used supplies back in my studio, I eventually will need more, right? So…

I won’t even bother discussing all the new types of media I’ve bought planning to take up and master that sit languishing on my shelves, unused.

This is to say to the unafflicted, that art supplies have a curious dual  draw for some of us. On one hand they are potential for something great in our hands, on the other hand they can be stunning works of art to admire, just by existing. 

Leanne Hatch’s new book, The Brand-New, Never-Used, Perfect Crayons, brings those thoughts and experience to mind.

It is the story of Violet, a young creative girl who while shopping with her dad turns down the aisle with art supplies. She is enamored when she sees the large box of 84 crayons! She imagines all she could create with them and knows she MUST have them. Her dad makes a deal with her and for the price of a number of chores, Violet will get the crayons

Once the chores are done and she gets the crayons she takes them all out of the box to admire them. She arranges them in color groups and then from light to dark. They are magnificent. And because they are, she can not bring herself to use them.

Her little sister Marigold also admires the beauty fall the new crayons and asks Violet why she is not using them. Violet says, “They are too pretty and I don’t want to ruin them.” Day after day she admires them

And still, Violet couldn’t bring herself to use her new crayons. When Marigold asks if SHE can use them, Violet instead gives Marigold her old crayons to draw with; the used and broken and wrapper-less remnants of so many previous works of art. 

Marigold eventually takes it upon herself to use the new crayons. When Violet discovers her in the process she is angry and sends her sister away. 

She feels bad about he she treated her sister….And she becomes tired of worrying about her new crayons. Hatch brings the story to a sweet, satisfying end.

I’ve adored Hatch’s illustration for a while now. It is always immediately engaging and personal. Her soft touch with the palettes she chooses, the simple organic brush/line work, and the pacing of the illustrations – vignettes when needed, full double page spreads when they are called for.

This book does not disappoint. Violet and Marigold are full of character, endearing and believable. Their environment is simple and charming, and the pages are riddled with child like crayon illustrations of animals. 

This is a lovely book about desire, appreciation, sibling interaction, and art.

~kevan atteberry


  1. Brilliant. I need this book. Thanks so much for sharing. 🖍️❤️🖍️

  2. My big sister and me <3Thanks Kevan.

  3. I loved that big box with the sharpener in the back! Definitely cracking this book open.

  4. As a teacher & writer, I also LOVE a new box of Crayolas! I’ll look for this book. I enjoyed Leanne’s previous picture book too. Thanks, Kevan!

  5. I’m sure so many kids (and adults) can relate to having something new and not wanting to use or play with it for fear of it losing its “brand newness!” I’ll definitely have to check this book out!

  6. Michael Henriksen

    So relatable! This also perfectly embodies the familiar enchantment of the pristine new sketchbook, the untouched paint set, and myriad other enthralling art supplies with their siren songs calling me to create, all the while being held at bay by the powerful desire to simply admire “ My Precious “ lovely materials with their untouched potential intact! 😅 I love the feeling Leanne Hatch imbues in all her work, and am excited to pour over this latest book as well! Thanks for this great review, Kevan!

  7. Janet Frenck Sheets

    I’m not an artist, but I can identify with Violet!

  8. Oh, I get this one! I have a thing for cool notebooks, pens, sticky notes…you name it. Need to JUST enjoy them. I better read this picture book! Cute!

  9. I think I acted a bit like Violet when I was a kid. My box of crayons had a built-in sharpener in the back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *