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Harold and the Purple Crayon Hardcover – September 29, 2015

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Editorial Reviews Review

"One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight." So begins this gentle story that shows just how far your imagination can take you. Armed only with an oversized purple crayon, young Harold draws himself a landscape full of beauty and excitement. But this is no hare-brained, impulsive flight of fantasy. Cherubic, round-headed Harold conducts his adventure with the utmost prudence, letting his imagination run free, but keeping his wits about him all the while. He takes the necessary purple-crayon precautions: drawing landmarks to ensure he won't get lost; sketching a boat when he finds himself in deep water; and creating a purple pie picnic when he feels the first pangs of hunger.

Crockett Johnson's understated tribute to the imagination was first published in 1955, and has been inspiring readers of all ages ever since. Harold's quiet but magical journey reminds us of the marvels the mind can create, and also gives us the wondrous sense that anything is possible. (Ages 4 to 8)


"...For generations, children have cherished this ingenious and original little picture story". -- Horn Book

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 64 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (September 29, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060229357
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060229351
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 5 x 6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (664 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,505 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Crockett Johnson (1906-1975) was the writer and/or illustrator of over 20 books for children, including his beloved classic HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON (Harper, 1955), as well as seven subsequent adventures starring Harold, and THE CARROT SEED, written by his wife, Ruth Krauss (Harper, 1945). He was also the creator of "Barnaby," one of the most popular comic-strips of the Twentieth Century. (A Barnaby selection appears in LITTLE LIT: STRANGE STORIES FOR STRANGE KIDS, Harper, 2001.)

Mr. Johnson received his art training at New York University and Cooper Union, and in his later years exhibited a series of geometric paintings, which were well-received by both the mathematical and artistic communities.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

328 of 336 people found the following review helpful By OAKSHAMAN VINE VOICE on February 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
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....
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184 of 197 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Schonbek on April 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
This splendid little book starts with the protagonist, Harold, "...thinking it over for some time" and deciding to go for a walk in the moonlight.

This may seem unremarkable, but it is not.

There is no moon. There is nothing to walk on. There is nowhere to go.

For the only things that are real are Harold and the purple crayon. Otherwise, the universe in which he finds himself is apparently empty; nothing else is present. But what does nothing look like? It looks like nothing - a blank sheet of paper. But that kind of nothing is just exactly what is needed when what one is holding in one's hand is a purple crayon. And so the adventure gets underway.

The first thing Harold does on setting out is draw a horizontal line.

This may seem unimportant, but it is not.

For what he has drawn is the horizon, and this means that now he is standing on the ground. He can walk on it too...

Next he draws the moon (necessary if the walk is indeed to be in the moonlight). Harold draws it above the horizon - this means that it is in the sky. Now there is a reference point for height, and a world of three dimensions has come into being.

Off he goes, drawing a path, a forest (with only one tree so he won't get lost in it) and a dragon to guard the apples that are growing in the tree. Here the creator encounters unintended consequences, as the dragon that he has wrought is so fearsome as to frighten even him. Harold backs away, his hand shaking, inadvertently drawing a wavy line as he goes.

The wavy line traces out waves, and before he knows it, Harold is underwater in an ocean. He rescues himself by drawing a boat and makes his way to an unknown distant shore.
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101 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Scott Brickey on May 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
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.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Heather Harpel on April 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
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.Read more ›
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