I read this many, many times to my twins, and they liked it well enough, but they much preferred Where the Wild Things Are and Stone Soup I wasn t sure why, but I never gave it much thought until now Now, you see, my little Scoutie Kat loves Harold and the Purple Crayon, and I think it is because I finally figured out the voice for reading aloud One night last month we were sitting around, and I was exhausted, so rather than try to muster energy and liven up proceedings, I simply went with my exhaustion, put in a pseudo mid western accent and languidly set off on Harold s journey Turns out that languid is a big hit at least with Scoutie Slow and steady and soothing is the voice she likes, and I discovered, much to my surprise, that I liked the story than I ever had before I think I d always been reading it wrong, trying to make it into an adventure, rather than a journey to sleep Silly me I have it now, though, and I ll never read it another way again p.s Until today I had it ranked at three stars, but I ve added another now Harold deserves it. Crockett Johnson s allegorical retelling of Books 1 6 of Vergil s Aeneid is still as powerful today as when it was originally published in 1955 After being startled by a dragon guarding apples a reference to the Achaian menace brought on by the Golden Apple of Discord Harold Aeneas is forced into an involuntary sea voyage, accompanied only by the moon here a stand in for his patroness mother Venus He lands in a pleasant country, and enjoys a seaside feast the wealth and luxury of Carthage , accompanied by a hungry moose and a deserving porcupine , allegories for Dido and her sister Anna It is no accident that it is Anna who is the deserving one Dido, who spurns Iarbas in favor of trying to divert Aeneas from his divine mission is satirized as thin and rapacious.Abandoning these at their banquet of overabundance, Harold Aeneas continues his journey He tries to climb a mountain to help locate his objective the land where he is destined to settle , but it is only after a plunge into an abyss that he can gain enlightenment Here Johnson has replaced the Roman conception of the underworld with a strikingly literal representation there wasn t any other side of the mountain, merely a void Finally sensing that he is near to his destination, he passes first by a false house and then an entire false city obvious metaphors for the false destinations such as Sicily which tempt the Trojan settlers Harold Aeneas asks a policeman King Latinus for directions, but, as Aeneas is guided by divine destiny, Latinus merely directs him the way he was going anyway Vergil s theme that a divine origin and the firm religious foundation built upon this is the wellspring of Roman glory is well symbolized by the ending the journey of Harold Aeneas ends when he embraces pietas and the destiny placed upon him by Venus, and builds his room around her thus establishing the Roman race.Crockett Johnson s masterful interpretation of this theme through spartan monochrome illustrations offers a remarkable counterpoint to Vergil s ornate Latin verse But the pinnacle of his creation lies in the titular instrument It is no great exaggeration to say that Vergil s patron, Augustus, was at the time engaged in remaking Rome in his own image The author s metaphor is dual Harold is not merely Aeneas, founder of the Romans He is Augustus, the fulfillment of the Aeneid s central prophecies, redrawing Rome with an imperial purple crayon. Here is the first betrayal in a long life of betrayals, child Your parents told you it was a classic, didn t they Their eyes were probably limpid with nostalgia as they gave it to you It s about imagination,they simpered And you took it in your grubby little hands, and you put it in your grubby little mouth, and you thought, THIS IS BORING But it s about how creativity can take you anywhere they cried And yeah, you babbled Anywhere purple. Because that s all it is, child, isn t it It s just purple lines No, they protest, it s pie and dragons Scribbly purple pies and dragons, and not the real thing The real pie is in the refrigerator, the real dragons are in your sofa fort, and this is boring.You might as well know now, child your parents are boring Your teachers are boring You will be assaulted on all sides by books that grown ups think are good for you, and they will be boring By the end of it, the love of reading will be crushed out of your body and you will become a lawyer.As you grow, you will face boring books Wind in the WillowsLittle House in the Big WoodsMoby DickProustThey are all boring Did your parents honestly like them Yes, they did, because they were never children like you They were born small adults, and they became big adults, and they have always liked boring things Throw this book behind the changing table where no parent can retrieve it, and read these instead MadelineMatildaHarriet the SpyWuthering HeightsBorgesAnd if any grown up tries to talk to you about Harold and his stupid crayon, bite them. This is a book about an insomniac toddler who gets out of bed and goes wandering around at night armed with a magic crayon What were his parents thinking Didn t they realize that you should put toddlers to bed early and make sure they stay there And didn t they know that you shouldn t give magical objects to young children Harold could have fallen out of bed and ended up with an owie What is worse, he could have gotten lost, eaten, injured, kidnapped, jailed or drowned.This book should be prohibited because it encourages neglect and shows a lamentable overuse of imagination. . This was my choice for the Popsugar prompt A book with your favorite color in the title Children s book choice 2 out of 3 and I have to say, after all the hype surrounding what a fantastic book this is, I just didn t see it Sure it s a cute read, but for something so beloved I expected a little Anyway, on to the next one P.S my kids weren t all that interested either so I guess it wasn t just me. 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 This book is Amazing I love this story of imagination imagery My favorite part toward the end And then Harold made his bed.He got in it and he drew up the covers This is so perfect on so many levels The sad thing is I don t remember reading this as a child I discovered The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon at age 30 Where have you been all my life Harold If you re like me or if you ve read it before do yourself a favor and read this book rediscover a world of imagination and simplicity I like Harold and the Purple Crayon better than Where the Wild Things Are, which is a book of similar material, although not quite as simplistic.Some Favorite Parts He didn t want to get lost in the woods So he made a very small forest, with just one tree in it.His hand holding the purple crayon shook Suddenly he realized what was happening But by then Harold was over his head in an ocean He came up thinking fast And in no time he was climbing aboard a trim little boat He hoped he could see his bedroom window from the top of the mountain But as he looked down over the other side he slipped And there wasn t any other side of the mountain He was falling, in thin air But luckily, he kept his wits and his purple crayon A true classic and for good reason A marvelous story about all the places imagination and a purple crayon can take you Don t let the book s apparent simplicity fool you this is a treasure.I m a creative person, but I m not especially artistic in terms of drawing painting etc so I could both appreciate Harold s creative spirit and his artistic talents that are beyond me That said, I think even though Harold uses a purple crayon, the imagination and creativity can be so relevant to various artistic persuasions writing, music, dance, etc all help us create worlds After finally having had a chance to read Crocket Johnson s Harold and the Purple Crayon which I unfortunately never did get a chance to actually and actively encounter during my own childhood, although I had heard of its existence , and what in my humble opinion makes this timeless classic so very much and inherently, lastingly special is that with the simplicity of the accompanying illustrations, the author illustrator shows children no, he actually shows EVERYONE that imagination and even artistic imagination does NOT need to be realism based, does not need to be three dimensional, and most certainly does not ever really need to be painterly, as Harold s artistic adventures with his ubiquitous purpose crayon are all depicted as simple line drawings, expressive, evocative, adventurous, but in no way overly involved and with too many minute details stick figure like renderings that most of us, and even those of us with imagination, and appreciation for art but not really all that much if any talent for drawing, painting and the like could than likely manage easily enough And aside from the sweet, engagingly fun act of reading Harold and the Purple Crayon either as an independent reader or perusing it with a child or a group of children , of showing, of demonstrating how Harold uses his very active imagination, uses his special purple crayon to create his own imaginative world of whimsy, adventure and even delicious treats, one can of course also make use of the very premise of Crocket Johnson s classic to encourage children either at home or in the classroom to create their own drawn purple crayon or whatever coloured crayon imaginative adventure storyboards, to read and perhaps even to present, to show and tell Highly recommended and just so much potential fun as in my opinion Harold and the Purple Crayon simply begs to be imitated, to be used as a blueprint for playtime and whimsical storytelling, but perhaps it might also and equally be worthwhile if not necessary making sure that especially toddlers do not end up initiating Harold too closely by drawing on walls
Crockett Johnson was the pen name of the American cartoonist and children s book illustrator David Johnson Leisk He is best known for the comic strip Barnaby 1942 1952 and the Harold series of books beginning with Harold and the Purple Crayon From Wikipedia.
- 64 pages
- Harold and the Purple Crayon
- Crockett Johnson
- 18 April 2018 Crockett Johnson