Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

One of my younger sisters, Simone, was not as strong a reader as my older sister and I had been when we were in Grade 2. We normally got our books from the school or the public library. My clever mother decided to get her to choose some books of her very own, books that were purchased and that Simone could keep, which was a brilliantly effective strategy. Simone became a passionate reader, like the other female members of my family.

I still remember the books Simone chose. We read them so many times for our own pleasure, and then to our younger siblings, that I can still recite lines from them. Dr. Seuss (The Cat in the Hat; Green Eggs and Ham; Fox in Socks; Hop on Pop). P.D. Eastman (Are You My Mother?). Stan Berenstain (Inside, Outside, Upside Down). Maurice Sendak (Chicken Soup With Rice). Ruth Krauss (The Carrot Seed). And Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon.

To someone who hasn't seen what the right book can do for a child, these titles may seem too babyish to be consequential. To someone who is learning to read, they are magic.

I recently got out a copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon from the library and was delighted to find it every bit as wonderful as I remembered. It was first published in 1955. The art is deceptively simple. The story is of a small child who adventures into his own art creations. Harold's vast imagination and quick wits are an inspiration. Read it and enjoy it and share it with children as young as two years old.


Simone said...

I didn't remember that at all...
My son also took a little longer to become an avid reader than his sibling. For him, the Deltora Quest series is what really got him going. He'd already had JR Tolkien's Trilogy read out loud to him and was totally hooked fantastic stories.

Lindy said...

Mom said her vivid memory was of the books we chose at the grocery store. She was surprised that we chose math puzzles for fun.