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Harold and the Purple Crayon
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Harold and the Purple Crayon is a classic children's book first published in 1955 that features a calm, upbeat but mostly silent little boy who creates his surroundings with his ever-present purple crayon. He makes up his own fun, and even gets scared by some of his drawings: He's chased by a dragon he draws, he falls of a mountain he draws, he has to draw a boat to save himself from drowning in the sea he accidentally draws. Successive generations have enjoyed Harold's inventive adventures. Harold and the Purple Crayon is a wonderful celebration of imagination and independent play that also has been adapted for an animated HBO Family TV series and is available as an app. The 60th anniversary edition, released in October 2015, has a larger (6 1/4 by 7 3/4) size.
What's the story?
Harold is a little boy who always has his purple crayon with him. He decides to go for a walk in the moonlight, but there's no moon, so he draws a crescent one, and draws a straight path to walk on so he won't get lost. The moon goes with him as he walks. He draws an apple tree, and a dragon to guard it, and so on, creating settings, situations (a picnic full of pies), and transportation (a boat, a hot air balloon) as the need or whim arises. He draws windows, hoping to find his own window. Then he finally remembers his own window \"is always right around the moon.\" So he draws a window around the moon above him, then draws his bed, hops in, draws up the covers, drops the crayon and drops off to sleep.
Is it any good?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why Harold and the Purple Crayon has been loved by kids for generations. What makes it so appealing?
Can you imagine drawing yourself out of a dangerous situation? What would you draw if a dragon were chasing you?
If you've seen the app version of Harold and the Purple Crayon, how do you think it compares with the book? Which do you like better?
- Author: Crockett Johnson
- Illustrator: Crocket Johnson
- Genre: Picture Book
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Great Boy Role Models
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: January 1, 1955
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 3 - 8
- Number of pages: 64
- Available on: Paperback, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, App
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.