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Harold and the Purple Crayon
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Harold and the Purple Crayon (Harold #1)

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  91,757 ratings  ·  1,257 reviews
"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-hea ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published 1996 by Bloomsbury (first published 1955)
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Cherisse
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Jisun Lee I'm 24, and I still say this book is a fantastic one. It's so imaginative and creative and perfect to read to little children; I would definitely read…moreI'm 24, and I still say this book is a fantastic one. It's so imaginative and creative and perfect to read to little children; I would definitely read this to my kids, whenever I have kids. It conveys a message that you can do absolutely anything even when all you have is a crayon, as long as you have this thing called imagination. I remember loving this book as a kid and I'm sure a lot of kids today will love it as well.(less)
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
23rd out of 3,330 books — 4,884 voters
Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLittle Women by Louisa May Alcott
Favorite books from my childhood
114th out of 3,215 books — 6,110 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Brad
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
...more
Benjamin Winkler
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 Cart ...more
Richard
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 p
...more
Dustin Crazy little brown owl
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 am just discovering 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 o
...more
Kathryn
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 variou
...more
Scott Rhee
Crockett Johnson's wonderful little book "Harold and the Purple Crayon" is a classic among children's literature. I have many fond memories of this book (and the other Harold books) about an adorable toddler with an active imagination and a magical crayon that allows him to bring to life anything he draws. I never had a problem with the book as a child, but my cynical (and science fiction/fantasy-addled) adult brain's re-reading uncovers the horrific implications within the story, implications t ...more
Stephanie
I remember reading Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson, as a child, so when I saw the book on the library shelves, I decided to check it out for my older daughter. When I read it to her, the feelings of disquietude that had plagued me as a child when I read the book (and which I had forgotten) were reawakened. Harold and the Purple Crayon is upsetting because it is not a journey into the imagination or even into a real yet magical world (a la Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things ...more
Robert Tabb
Aug 13, 2007 Robert Tabb rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone with an Imagination
Shelves: topten
I just love this book (even though my wife insists I never pronounce the word crayon correctly. She says I say "crown"). As an author I try to emulate what Harold does in this book. First, go looking for an adventure. Next, add some obstacles, a little humor, a moose, some pie, and some narrow escapes. Finally, when you're all done, find your way home and get some rest. If I was ever stranded on a desert island, this would be the book I'd want to have with me.
midnightfaerie
Our whole family loves Harold. Out of all of his stories, this is one of our favorites, because we just love following him along on his drawing adventure. I idea that you can create worlds just by drawing them both fascinates and horrifies my children. My 3 yr old twins already shout "Harold!" whenever they see me pull out of of his books, and my 5 yr old, often requests these. Bringing back memories from my childhood watching Romper Room, and singing "Well you know my name is Simon...", always ...more
Synesthesia (SPIDERS!)
This was the first book I remember loving. I remember going to the school library and snatching it off the shelf happy to read about Harold creating his own world with a purple crayon.
Purple was my favourite colour when I was a kid too.
I wish I owned a copy of it. It brings back happy childhood memories.
John Yelverton
Such a fun children's book about a child's imagination and what he can do with it, with the right tools.
Daniel
One of the all-time best books to foster creativity in children. A must for EVERY child's bookshelf.
John
Harold is probably the most influential character in all of literature in our family
Amy
Oh dear, this one is tough to rate. My niece and nephew had *completely* different opinions of this book. My niece loved it, and she told me to, "give that one five stars on Goodreads." Well, that isn't going to happen, because my nephew *hated* it. He was sighing, he was squirming, and it was just obvious that while he was interested in what Harold was drawing, this book was also boring him to tears. When we finished the book he said, "Amy, I don't like that story. I just want a cool book!" So ...more
Jim
I remember this book and how much I simply loved the story and the simple, yet, elegant drawing of Harold. I remember its humor. Some have determined that it is empowering, and that I cannot say, although perhaps I am where I am in small measure because of it? I do know that it says a lot to young readers about the power of creativity.
Patrick
Some books are classics for a reason. This is one of those books.

I'd happily recommend this book for kids of any age range. They're delightful, and my boys enjoy having them read and re-read to them.
Faller Clementine
Wow. I enjoyed this far more than I expected myself to.
Ryan Vaughan
It might seem odd to mention the late George Carlin in a review "Harold and the Purple Crayon" but I can't help remembering something he once said. During one his standup routines he expressed the idea that children should be allowed one hour a day to just daydream and I agree. The best ideas usually occur when allow our minds to roam freely. It makes me wonder if he might have had a fondness for this book ,because it is all about letting the mind roam free in creative play. I had the opportunit ...more
Hiske Rdg
I really like this book because its simple and easy to understand. I think this book is great for pre-k and kinder. I really like the pictures used in this book in creating the story.
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
Love Harold! When I started working at the bookstore they did not even know who Harold was - I fixed that & it became very popular.
Liss
If you don't know why this book gets five stars you probably haven't read it.
Linsay
Secular humanism is good!! (Albert that's for you)
Jessica (Books: A true story)
I'm trying to read more books from my to-read list and I happened to see Harold and the Purple Crayon at the library. It was on my to-read list only because it was mentioned on Gilmore Girls. But my 4 year-old son saw it and wanted to read it with me. So we read it together and he enjoyed it a lot. Which of course means we read it about 5 more times. It is an adorable, creative book with a cute message about imagination and finding home. My review is probably longer than the book itself, but I r ...more
David
"One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight." This gentle story 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. 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 t ...more
Angela Skeie
Nov 22, 2009 Angela Skeie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Broaden your horizons
Recommended to Angela by: Mommy
Shelves: william-s-books
Eleven.
Brittany Young
The first thing I noticed about this book was how small it was. It was the size of my palm, which would make it perfect for a young child’s hands. It had a deep purple cover, with a gray toned Harold on it. He really stuck out against the dark background. The cover is a wrap-around image, connecting Harold’s scribbles with his purple crayon. The illustrations inside are all white, and seemingly drawn by Harold and his purple crayon. It really looked like Harold was illustrating his story. The te ...more
Elfdart
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 ...more
Margaret
I had never really found an interest in reading this book before recently. By a glance I assumed it was about a boy drawing on his walls with a Crayon. It was by chance that we downloaded a sample book app for the Kindle Fire and my toddler has been able to play with a few scenes. As app it is very neat. Then when we got our hands on Harper Collins Treasury Of Picture Book Classics: A Child's First Collection she saw the book fiver for Harold and insisted we read Harold tonight. In the end I'm g ...more
Sarah Sammis
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson is eighteen years older than I am but I will always associate it (and the other books that followed) with my early childhood. When I was first setting up this website (way before the word blog had been coined) one of my first posts was a review of the Harold series. I've since taken down that page but you can probably find it cached on the Way Back Machine. Since then I've had two kids of my own and they have discovered the Harold books. So with re ...more
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pseudonym for David Johnson Leisk
More about Crockett Johnson...

Other Books in the Series

Harold (7 books)
  • Harold's Fairy Tale
  • Harold's Trip to the Sky
  • Harold at the North Pole
  • Harold's Circus
  • A Picture for Harold's Room
  • Harold's ABC
The Adventures of Harold and the Purple Crayon Harold's Fairy Tale A Picture for Harold's Room Harold's Circus Harold at the North Pole

Share This Book

“The sandy beach reminded Harold of picnics. And the thought of picnics made him hungry. So he laid out a nice simple picnic lunch.

There was nothing but pie. But there were all nine kinds of pie that Harold liked best.

When Harold finished his picnic there was quite a lot left. He hated to see so much delicious pie go to waste.

So Harold left a very hungry moose and a deserving porcupine to finish it up.”
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