Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Crayon Man: the True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons” as Want to Read:
The Crayon Man: the True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Crayon Man: the True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons

4.36  ·  Rating details ·  353 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Celebrating the inventor of the Crayola crayon! This picture book biography tells the story of Edwin Binney, the inventor of one of the world's most beloved stationary supplies.

purple mountains’ majesty, mauvelous, jungle green, razzmatazz…

What child doesn't love to hold a crayon in their hands?  But children didn't always have such magical boxes of crayons. Here’s the t
Published March 19th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  353 ratings  ·  80 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Someone once pointed out to me that a good 30% of my reviews start out with me saying, in one form or another, something along the lines of “I didn’t think I’d like this book but then I read it blah blah blah amazing blah blah blah original blah blah blah go read it.” And the jury finds me . . . guilty as charged. See, writing original reviews can be tricky so it’s easy for a reviewer to fall into some old established (read: brainless) methods of putting words to a page. I mean, it’s not like it ...more
Connie T.
Imagine you love nature and all the colors of the world. Now imagine you're an inventor but all day long you're surrounded by black: black dust, black tar, black ink.... What do you do? Well, if your name is Edwin Binney you invent crayons!

This colorful, engaging book describes the history and the chemistry which led to the development of Crayola crayons while also being accessible to young readers. A 2-page photo spread showing modern day crayon manufacturing at the Crayola factory, a brief bio

First sentence: Once there was a man who saw color everywhere.

Premise/plot: The Crayon Man is a picture book biography of Edward Binney the creator of crayons.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved this one. The narrative is well written. It's packed with information--which I loved. Plenty of information is included within the sidebars. But at its heart it remains an entertaining story.

Edwin invented a new kind of inexpensive slate pencil that wrote very smoothly--it was gray. Children loved it! H
Of course, this book immediately made me remember the infamous Mister Rogers video about how crayons are made.

It also gave me a sudden sense memory of opening a new box of crayons. Their smell and their sharp points! This is a fun picture-book biography of Edwin Binney, who invented the first child-friendly and mass-producible crayons we still know as Crayola. I loved the details about how he listened to his wife's advice (which was always good advice) a
What's not to love about learning how the original Crayola crayon was invented? Who would have thought it was such a crazy thing based on what kinds of materials kids had to draw with before and then figuring out the science behind creating the perfect artistic utensil with bright, vivid coloring to let our imaginations fly. And that's exactly was Edwin Binney did-- let his imagination fly in the factory as he perfected the technique, coming home every day drenched in color, and with the ingenio ...more
I love this COLORFUL story about the inventor of Crayola crayons! Makes me appreciate them and want to go color a picture. The back matter is excellent too: photos (color, of course) showing the process of making Crayola crayons today, and a selected bibliography.
Wendy Garland
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a tale of color, innovation, and persistence. Edwin Binney wanted to bring effective and inexpensive color into the world for children and his invention has been used by generations of children. Backmatter includes scenes from the Crayola factory showing how crayons are made today.
Maria Caplin
Apr 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perseverance, creativity and problem solving. Excellent sidebar notes and word study about the origin of crayons 🖍
Klaudia Janek
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libres
I love this book! I think I was drawn in by the colorful cover, but also because my life is filled with crayons because of my kids. I actually did not know the Crayola story, so I really learned a lot from this beautiful picture book. I did not know that Edwin Binney was the inventor of Crayola crayons. Readers will be taken on his journey of discovery and how crayons came to be. There are actually a lot of scientific facts in this story. For example, readers will learn (in a sidebar) that “grou ...more
Edward Binney and his staff get the prize for giving children crayons, safer than the older, not useful or safe, artist's crayons. In those early days, paper was too expensive so children wrote with a gray pencil, on slate tablets. They worked but rubbed off too easily. Natascha Biebow tells the story starting with the 'need' for crayons of the colors of the world so children could draw them. Binney's wife knew about this. She was a teacher. And Biebow takes the reader through pages of persisten ...more
Michele Knott
How many times have you held a crayon in your hand without thinking too much about it? Or maybe you’ve had some wonderings.... it’s the origin story you didn’t know you were waiting for! Fun story and fantastic backmatter!
Amy Pickett
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
An informative and COLORFUL history of Crayola crayons and the man who invented them! A fun piece of nonfiction with a Pennsylvania connection, and a perfect choice for young readers looking for a book about an inventor.
Having made several trips to the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA, I found this picture book biography about the inventor behind the yellow box fascinating! Perfect for your readers and researchers.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Art biography, color and crayon requests
Recommended to June by:
Colorful, fun illustrations tell how Edwin Binney created a team to invent crayons at the behest of his wife Alice. Fun facts about crayons today at the back of the book. Over 8,333 crayons are made a minute - more tan 120 different colors.
Jun 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a great look at the science and chemistry that were used to first make Crayola Crayons. Be sure to look at the back matter where you can see how they are made today.
Aliza Werner
Remember when Mr. Rogers went to a crayon factory to show us how crayons are made?! Love this bio of Crayola’s inventor and the back matter showing how crayons are made, start to finish.
Ben Truong
The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons is a children's picture book written by Natascha Biebow and illustrated by Steven Salerno. It chronicles the story of Edwin Binney – the creator of crayons.

Edwin Binney was an American entrepreneur and inventor, who created the first dustless white chalk, and along with his cousin C. Harold Smith was the founder of Handicrafts Company Binney and Smith, which marketed his invention of the Crayola crayon.

Biebow's text is rather sim
Sandy Brehl
This biography/creation story behind ubiquitous crayons offers multiple themes:
following your true self (a boy who embraced color form childhood onward)
business collaboration and initiative
experimentation and perseverance
spouses as contributors and supporters, not just tea-servers
figurative and descriptive language
and more!
Add to that the crisp and colorful Photo-Doc-How-It-Is-Made spread in the back matter, a bit of archival and research detail about Edward Binney and his family, and one of the
Becky B
A picture book biography of Edwin Binney, who led a team to invent the Crayola crayon and bring color to children's everyday drawings.

Picture book biographies have now become a very popular genre. The number of picture book biographies available has exploded in just the past decade. And that's a great thing. With the explosion comes a wide array of quality. Some books stand out more than others for the artwork, and occasionally, some stand out for the way they present information. This is one of
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: k-3rd grade
The first page is alive with colors and we are then plunged into the black of the factory. Edwin Binney's position is similar in both, arms stretched up, while his facial expressions clearly show how differently he felt between the world full of color and the black overwhelming everything in the factory. Colorful introduction to the invention of the now ubiquitous crayon. While the story of Binney can be read solely from the main text, the small boxes of additional information are good and some ...more
Alicia Evans
What a fun book! Crayons are one of those items that so many of us use but we don't often see how they're created. I remember watching a show called How It's Made when I was little and absolutely loving the episode about crayons. We see the crayons go from idea to reality here, including the number of people involved and the numerous experiments to get everything right. This book may not give all of the real history because of the target audience, but there is a section in the back for further r ...more
Shaye Miller
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Edwin Binney’s invention of the Crayola Crayon. He had invented a number of things before his wife, Alice (a former schoolteacher), encouraged him to create a new form of crayons. As is to be expected from a nonfiction book, there’s more text than most picture books. At the very end there’s a detailed 10-step spread describing how crayons are made, today, followed by more information on Edwin Binney and sources of information for children who want to learn more. The illustra ...more
Ann Haefele
May 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When my boys were young, I remember them loving the “how crayons are made” episode on the Mr. Rogers tv show. That was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this book, which should be well received by elementary school age children. They may take crayons for granted, but will love hearing how they were invented. Everything from how the name “Crayola” came to be, to how the different colors were created by Mr. Binney and Mr. Smith, to real photos of the crayon making process today, is i ...more
Cheriee Weichel
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just Wow! I could go on and on and on about why you should own this book, but this review from SLJ,, says everything I can think of, only better.
I am thoroughly impressed by the words and the art. I love the historical perspective. It begins with what Edwin Binney was creating before he started working on coloured crayons for children. It takes us through the process of coming up with a finished product and then in the back matter, takes the reader into
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As a child, I would get so excited when I got a new box of Crayola crayons, especially the box of 64 with the sharpener on the back. Years later when I taught first grade, I was a total Crayola snob. In my classroom we used Crayola crayons, markers, watercolors, & colored pencils. Just the sight of a box of Rose Art crayons made me cringe! :)
Needless to say I loved learning a few new facts about my beloved Crayola crayons and the man who invented them. The fact that the book was well written
Apr 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
a great informational picture book about Binney and Smith crayons and how they were invented. It tells why they were named Crayola craie for sticks of chalk and ola from the word oleaginous-oily texture. One was the inventor and the other the marketeer. They were introduced in 1904 at the World's Fair. I like the photos in the back of the book and more about Edwin Binney. It gives sources too.

I love crayons , so this was the book for me. I wish they had more art books on the different ways to us
Panda Incognito
This bright, colorful picture book biography introduces children to the man who invented crayons. The author provides clear historical context for the invention, explains the science behind it, and shows how it has impacted children. It's a lovely, inspiring book, and in addition to the historical note in the back, there are also photo-illustrated pages about how Crayola produces and packages crayons today. This book will appeal to the kid in everyone, and art teachers and librarians hosting cra ...more
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a great topic for a children's book. All of us, including children, have used crayons, without thinking twice about how they were invented and what drawing was like before them. With lovely illustrations and kid friendly narrative, this book would be a great read aloud for a historical connection before children draw with crayons or a thought provoking kick off to students creating their own inventions. It might also be fun to look up some interesting crayon trivia for children to guess abo ...more
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
Genre: Picture Book Biography/ Invention Tale. Tells of Edward Binney, who with his business partner Harold Smith created Crayola crayons. It was a fascinating history of writing instruments in the late 1800s and how the crayons came to be. Those behind its invention are those who still use the products today: children and schoolteachers. Beautiful illustrations show the contrast between the colors in the world and the black of the factory. Also included great period clothing-- long skirts, over ...more
Meet Edwin Binney: the creator of the Crayola Crayon, who brought color to a dreary black-and-white world.
Covers the original history of crayons, includes photographic timeline of how crayons are made, what was used to dye the new colors!

Beautiful illustrations and fun read. The vocabulary of the book is meant for a 3rd grade reading level or for the kid to be read to, but it was a fun exploration of art and science!
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »