I have nothing against the idea of Crayola’s Mess-Free Color WonderTM system. Frankly, it’s a brilliant concept: Toddlers can draw indiscriminately on whatever surface they can reach, but nothing happens unless the chemicals in the marker hit different chemicals in the paper. A perfect diversion for long journeys, especially in a vehicle you don’t own.
For one of these trips, we sprang for a “Deluxe Set”—six markers, a pad of blank paper, and a “Color & Activity Book”—because [said in your best Telly Savalas accent] nothin’ but the best for your kids, right baby? So Robert’s working away on the C&A book when he exclaims, “Daddy? This is broken!” Sure enough, he’s doodling on the side of the page, and nothing’s happening. Turns out that the book is full of black-and-white drawings just begging to be colored, but the chemicals don’t let you color outside the lines.
And it gets worse. There is one page, for example, with six empty seed packets that asks, “What seeds are you planting this year?” Great, you think. My child is being asked to think for himself (and if Robert had his way, he’d grow nothing but goats and heavy machinery). But any decision is ultimately thwarted, because the chemicals have pre-ordained what the picture will be. Want to draw a banana? Well up yours, kid. It’s a tulip. Wanna try again? Ha! It’s peas! You vill draw vhat ve tell you, and you vill like it!
I’m onto you, Messrs. Binney & Smith, if those are your real names. I’ll have you know that we often strip Robert down to his skivvies, hand him some fabric markers, and encourage him to deface your little slice of fascism. And he does so with gusto, often burbling maniacally: I have seen your piss-ant attempt at mind control, and I rebuke you!
Somehow, Ashcroft is behind this.