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Harold and the Purple Crayon

(Harold #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  131,263 ratings  ·  2,171 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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Enrique The book is recommended for ages 3-7 but is good for other kids too.
Roman Stadtler This is a book review and rating site; it's not for downloading or reading books. I think you can do that on, but I don't really know. I go…moreThis is a book review and rating site; it's not for downloading or reading books. I think you can do that on, but I don't really know. I go to bookstores or libraries for all my books.(less)

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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  131,263 ratings  ·  2,171 reviews

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Harold and the Purple Crayon (Harold #1), Crockett Johnson pseudonym for David Johnson Leisk

Harold and the Purple Crayon is a 1955 children's book by Crockett Johnson.

This is Johnson's most popular book. It led to a series of other books, and inspired many adaptations.

The protagonist, Harold, is a curious four-year-old boy who, with his purple crayon, has the power to create a world of his own simply by drawing it.

Harold wants to go for a walk in the moonlight, but there is no moon, so he dra
It’s amazing what one purple line can do for a story. Harold has a purple crayon and he goes on a journey with his imagination. The illustrations are simple and the book is enduring and cute. Everything is black and white ink drawings with that one purple crayon. It’s pretty brilliant what Crockett did here.

The niece didn’t read this and the nephew is in a phase right now. He’s a bit of a handful and he is just out-of-sorts sometimes. He had been throwing tamtrums all evening. I thought he a sto
Mar 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: grown-ups
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'
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
Oct 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a children's book, and it is the first book in the Harold series. I have read this book to my twin boys and my daughter a lot. I love this book, and one of my twin boys favorite color is purple. I love that the pictures is simple and super cute. Great book for little kids and toddlers. (*) ...more
Chelsea Humphrey
Dec 30, 2017 rated it liked it
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... more? Anyway, on to the next one!

P.S. my kids weren't all that interested either so I guess it wasn't just me.
Benjamin Winkler
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Dustin the wind 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."

Harold and the Purple Crayon is perfect on so many levels. It all starts when Harold wants to go for a walk in the moonlight. He can't see any moon so he draws one with his purple crayon. The moon is then a companion for duration of this magical adventure.

The sad thing is I don't remember reading this as a child - I discovered The
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked Harold and his purple crayon. This kid has an imagination! He fought beasts, made a picnic, went out to sea, floated on a balloon, made giant buildings; and all before bedtime. I liked the simplicity of the purple crayon/marker yet what he did with it was anything but simple. Very cool book to read before bedtime.
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 ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Harold and the Purple Crayon has been around for over sixty years so I'm wondering how I missed this as a kid. It's so cute and imaginative and all these years later it is sure to continue entertaining. Even though I'm a little late reading this book, I'm glad I did. ...more
Annie ⚜️
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
This book is adorable and I love Harold. We picked this up as a board book in the gift shop of The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (or whatever it's called) in Massachusetts. I was on one of those benders in the gift shop where I HAD to get something. I just had to! Little man was about a year old, give or take, and this place was lovely. The gift shop made me crazy to shop. So we got this and Ezra Jack Keats' A Snowy Day. Anyhow, I was a bit disappointed that everything was just purple bu ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Sep 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another "mommy book" that I remember from my childhood. I can actually remember setting my purple crayon aside...If it worked for Harold it would work for me! ...more
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A totally fun little story about Harold, who decides to go on a walk, taking his purple crayon with him, drawing himself a great adventure.
I can see where author/illustrator Aaron Becker got his idea for his Journey trilogy.
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
... what are we missing?

Small-fry was bored and his only thoughts were ”why doesn’t Harold have any other colors?” And ”hey, Kaylin! Purple is YOUR favorite color too!”

I get that is about imagination and silly and all that fun stuff. But it’s also just a kid scribbling things that somehow leads to an adventure??
Mattia Ravasi
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Harold and his purple crayon break diegetic barriers as if it's nobody's business. Postmodern as fuck. ...more
Aug 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If your child doesn't love this book, you've got an engineer on your hands (not that there's anything wrong with that). ...more
Suzy Davies
Jan 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adore this book! The whole concept is so playful and imaginative. The storyline is all about dreams, creativity, play and imaginative exploration. Harold's adventures encourage children to be curious and inventive. Harold's journey - all created with his purple crayon - shows children that we can create our reality. The whimsical purple line drawings are quirky and funny. The tone of the writing is optimistic, and sure to appeal to children, in fact, everyone who wants to get in touch with the ...more
May 13, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Wow. Surprised the cop didn't arrest this kid. Good job, Harold. ...more
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This one was in my babysitter's bag o' tricks when I was a teenager, small enough to fit in my purse and fun enough for all the kids in my neighborhood. ...more
Short and sweet, with a straight to the heart message: make your own path - you make it happen - you save the day - you find the tools - you build the bridge - you enjoy the apples - you find adventure - you make your home - you make your bed - you earn your rest.

Love it. . . .a lovely way to present these ideas to a new human.
Bill Lynas
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was given a desk calendar which recommends lots of fine literary books to read. So, what have I chosen to read so far ? This small childrens book!
Harold has a purple crayon, which sets him off on an adventure. That's it really. Short, fun & a delightfully cheeful read.
Scott Rhee
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
In Defense of Purple Prose
by Paul West

Like with reading Finnegans Wake and following Jesus, become as like a little child.....
 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.
Robert Tabb
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
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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.] ...more

Other books in the series

Harold (7 books)
  • Harold's Fairy Tale (Harold, #2)
  • Harold's Trip to the Sky (Harold, #3)
  • Harold at the North Pole (Harold, #4)
  • Harold's Circus (Harold, #5)
  • A Picture for Harold's Room (Harold, #6)
  • Harold's ABC

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“But, luckily, he kept his wits and his purple crayon.” 7 likes
“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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