on July 22, 2000
"Harold and the Purple Crayon" was one of my favorite books as a child, and I bought a copy the day I found out my wife was pregnant. I've tried a few times to interest my daughter in the book, but it was a bit too sophisticated for a 3-month old! Now that my daughter is three years old, she just pulled out this book from her shelf and asked me to read it to her. She was ready for it, and the magic worked! The story of Harold and his purple crayon drawing anything he can think of is still every bit as entrancing to her as it was to me thirty years ago. In story structure, it's very much like Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are," but without the rebelliousness of Max: like Max, Harold goes on an adventure into his imaginary world, and then must find his way home. In short, an excellent classic, deserving of new generations of readers.
on June 8, 2004
This classic little book is a lovely reflection on childhood imagination and the joys of creativity.
Tiny wide-eyed Harold, in his one piece jammies and purple crayon in hand, wanders through the night using the dark canvas of sky to draw whatever fanciful dreamscapes his curious young mind can conjure.
No dummy is our Harold. He is an inventive little fellow who devises his own path, invents his own moon to light his way, makes a boat when he finds himself enveloped in a purple sea, creates pies when he is hungry, and so on until he is tired. Thanks to cleverly leaving behind special images as pointers to guide his way, he makes it back home in one piece and with lots of exciting stories to tell.
This is such a delightful book for children and one of the reasons is that it can be used interactively. Read the story with your kids then give them some crayons and a huge sheet of paper and let them loose to design and explore their own magical worlds.
on December 28, 2006
My son fell in love with this book. It showed him that all he needs is his life is the imagination to have an adventure. It is a book that is both calming and empowering to kids. It allows them to dream and imagine. It is a classic that certainly deserves your consideration. Another such volume is "Cats are Rascals". Make them available to your children.
on January 6, 2004
Harold and the Purple Crayon was a favorite of mine when I was a child (in the late 1950's). I was delighted to find it again when my children were born, and it soon became a favorite of theirs. They declared the apple tree to be a donut tree (then pronounced "doe-doe"), and insisted on naming every type of pie on the picnic blanket, every time we read the book! It is now the first book I include in the collection I give as a baby shower gift.
on March 25, 2008
this is one of those books where not only do the children in my life enjoy this book, but i do as well. for a kid's book, it's pretty existential. A boy goes through this world where nothing exists and with his purple crayon, creates his world. What makes it more than just a kids book, what gives it the philosophical premise is that even though harold starts the story with this crayon, and has the power to draw anything, become anything, because all he need do is draw whatever he wants to be or where ever he wants to go, even though he has this power, he is unsatisfied and goes on a journey. he uses his crayon to create the world as he goes through it and ultimately finds some contentment, a resting place if you will :P, but the fact that he can create is irrelevant, its a means to an end. The implied 'end' gives us something to think about, and though the children who are meant to be reading this book will not go into such depth with the symbolism or the philosophy, they will pick up on some of the questions the author asks, like what is harold looking for? why did he need to do all that stuff if he was just going to end up back at home? (though actually he didn't start at home). even if the kids don't burst their brains thinking about this, even if they don't come to any logical conclusion, even if they don't ask any questions to begin with, i think exposing our kids to this kind of story is important. aside from being very amusing, it provides intellectual stimulation for those who look for it and for those who don't, well one day they may look back on this story as an example of some conclusion or another they have drawn. Even if they never understand the story philosophically, the fact that they are exposed to it will register somewhere in their heads and what they know of it will teach them something about life (as does everything, which always gets me critical of the constant stream of nothing we shove down our kids throats, like the bastardisations of stories presented by disney and now barbie... and lets not even talk about pop culture).
anyways, the kids i read this to love it. its a great story, i recommend.
on May 15, 2003
Twenty-five years after I last read the story of "Harold and the Purple Crayon", I picked up the book again to read it to my four-year-old son. He loved it! Several years later, I picked up a copy again to send to my grandson.... what amazed me about both those times (even with the lengthy intervals between them) was that I had forgotten nothing. The pictures were burned into my mind's eye; the text still a part of my memory. I found that I could recite the story of Harold and his crayon without even looking.
This is a true celebration of the imagination, and in my opinion the very best children's book ever! It has a profound impact on adults as well as children, and it is infinitely delightful. (I even learned my very first play-on-words/pun from Crockett Johnson's classic (near the end of the book, when Harold "drew up the covers").
"Harold and the Purple Crayon" is the first and by far the best book in Crockett Johnson's "Harold" series, but it is not necessarily Johnson's best work. That distinction is reserved for his old "Barnaby" series of comic book stories, with the memorable Fairy Godfather Mr. O'Malley (hmmmm... come to think of it: Barnaby and Harold look a lot alike-- could they be related?).
If you have children emerging from the theatrical threes and heading into the fabulous fours, try them on "Harold and the Purple Crayon". It is a masterpiece of perfect simplicity and imaginative joy!
on April 4, 2003
Most people remember Harold and the Purple Crayon, and wont need to read reviews before buying this for their kids. If you somehow didn't read the Harold books when you were young, you will read many other reviews that say they are great books that have stood the test of time, I agree. The story is simple and easy to follow, the illustrations are equally simple, but the story grabs kids attention. There is something magical about Harold and his adventures, as he draws various things, they become real. It is the magic that sparkles in every child's mind, imagination. Harold is also plucky and resourceful, when he accidentally draws an ocean and falls in, or accidentally leaves a mountain unfinished and falls off, he doesn't panic, but thinks a way out and draws a boat and a hot air balloon to climb into. What a guy! The story is often humorous, a big plus with kids, but not overly so. It has a quiet and calm feel to it, and that combined with the fact that Harold gets tired and goes to bed in the end makes it a wonderful bedtime book. It is also great for young readers (probably Level 2), the words are for the most part short and not too hard. My daughter is a slow reader and has only been reading on her own for about 6 or 7 months and she read this with almost no help, I only had to guide her through a few difficult words. It is a lot of pages for a young reader, but since there is only one or two sentences per page, the story isn't that long. The book also appeals to a wide range of ages, it keeps the attention of my three year old, but doesn't seem like a baby book for my ten year old. I think it stems from the fact that, even though the story is so simple it never once talks down. Adults will also appreciate Harold, even those who don't look on him with fond memories. My husband had never read the book Harold and the Purple Crayon when he was young, after reading it for the first time he chuckled and said "What a great book." If you've never read it, buy it, I am sure you will agree!
on February 16, 2002
Yes, I am a 45 year old man writing a review for a children's book, and, no, I do not think that I ought to be ashamed of myself. A short while ago I stumbled upon a copy of this book by accident and I could't believe the flood of warm and pleasant memories that it brought back. This was perhaps my favorite childhood book, along with the sequels. Maybe this was because from my earliest memories I always wanted to be an artist, and that is what Harold was, an artist with a magic purple crayon. He was more than an artist, he was a creator of worlds. That was important, he wasn't presented as a trivial person doing "art", he was the creative force behind whole new worlds. Or "co-creator", for he often seemed as surprised as the reader at what flowed out of that crayon. While I didn't become an artist, I did work for most of my life as a draftsman and designer. I've seen many, many things in the real world start life as a drawing on my board or computer screen. I think that I kept faith with Harold....
on June 9, 2000
*Harold and the Purple Crayon* mesmerized me as a child. My 5 year old adores it, and my ten year old can't hide his continuing enthusiasm. With his purple Crayon, sensible Harold creates the moon so that he can see where he's going. He accidentally creates the sea (his drawing hand shakes, thus making waves appear) but soon negates this potential danger by drawing a boat and, finally, land. When hungry, Harold draws a delicious picnic with purple food. Harold copes.
The central idea is that a child, no matter how small, can exert control over the world, and when that child makes mistakes -- drawing a choppy sea, for instance -- those mistakes can be remedied. This book gives a child power. Grown-ups don't count; Harold makes what he needs without help. Under the influence of this book, at the ripe age of 11, I created a club called "The Purple X", in which, using purple markers to send letters, I set out to right all wrongs. Harold goes one better; he makes light and land. And the book makes children who feel empowered to tackle the problems of a big, scary world.
on May 5, 2000
I read this book when I borrowed it from the library in my elementary school. I am now 18, and still reminisce on my beloved journeys around the world in a hot air balloon with Harold. This is the book that I borrowed for the first time, and then got it later again and again. It is one of the first books that ever opened my mind up to the total loss of imagination to all possibilities. Every time I read it I would think of many more adventures Harold could have had with his mystical purple crayon. Even to this day, I can think of no better book to give a child's imagination a glimpse of what possibilities there are. It is easy reading for the youngest of believers, but gives thought of what could be to even the oldest readers. I personally was not a child who favored reading, but this book was one of the few that I thoroughly enjoyed. It was one that I would read in the library while the class was still in it, and then would bring home for further enjoyment. I cannot recommend this book higher for any child whose imagination can run wild.