Skip to main content

That Astounding Purple Crayon Book

As a children's book illustrator, Denise has many things to say about the process, her struggles, and children's books on the market today.

Children's Library

There's no adventure like a good book.

There's no adventure like a good book.


Why I Love This Book

This is one of the most charming books for the imagination and for future artists. It's all about a boy, Harold, who goes for a walk and he takes his purple crayon. Since he doesn't want to get lost he draws a line that he will be able to follow home. He draws a moon in the sky and all is well for a while. Then things happen and he gets lost. He falls in the water and draws himself a boat, then draws a sail and makes it to the other side. He gets tired and wants to go home so he draws a house with windows like his but these aren't his windows. So he draws a city of windows but none are his window. It's really cute and clever how he finds his own window in the end.

Support Your Readers With Books

A good book can take you places.

A good book can take you places.

What's Not to Love?

I think the thing that made me love this book is the fact that your imagination and some drawing could take you away to magical places. As an artist, I want to believe that what I create changes things, makes people happy or sad, enlightens or educates, uplifts and inspires. Harold's purple crayon does that. What he draws is real to him, just as the art I create is real to me. In the end, whether Harold's creations are a dream or reality, doesn't matter. They are his creations.

This book has some great moral lessons as well: things like never give up, think fast, keep a back-up plan or a purple crayon with you. Who wouldn't be charmed by this clever little boy and his purple crayon? It's a must-have for any children's library.


A charming reading

This is such a charming reading of the book Harold and The Purple Crayon. Love it. Harold is any child with imagination. Is it imagination that we have lost in the last few decades? We have become addicted to movies, television, and video games. Children don't have to imagine for themselves since so much is imagined and drawn out for them. How can we get back to nurturing imagination in our youth? Maybe it is all about reading and going back to the simple things. Reading makes you have to picture the words in your own mind instead of having them pictured for you. Reading draws on that part of the brain that has begun to atrophy. To get back the imagination of our youth, read to your children. This book is a good place to start.

“All the really good ideas I ever had came to me while I was milking a cow.”

— --Grant Wood


More Great Books For Your Children's Library

I love the story of Ferdinand the Bull because it simply shows us that just because someone is big, he doesn't have to be mean and scary. This premise is further expounded upon in the recent movie Blind Side with Sandra Bullock. It's a lovely movie about a very large teenage young man who was expected to play football just because of his size, but he would rather be sitting and smelling the flowers like Ferdinand the Bull. We have a bad habit of sizing someone up on mere looks and making snap judgments of the cover of a book when the inside has a completely different story going on.

Fishing for adventure in a good book.

Fishing for adventure in a good book.

Where the Wild Things Are

This is another very exceptional book for children that is creative and telling. In the beginning, the artwork is small and could easily fit in one corner of one page. It is as if the boys real life is small but as he begins dreaming, imagining himself to be running away to where the wild things are, his pages and colors and artwork grows until the imaginings fill both pages for 4 pages in a row. Then he gets hungry and tired and leaves where the wild things are and his art again begins to shrink, as he sets sail for home and his room until he again is filling only a corner of the page and his dinner is ready. To me, that means that our imagined life is larger and fuller than real life. And isn't that the way a child's imagination should be?

Children Reading

Scroll to Continue

What's your Color?


Color Choice

Purple is an interesting choice for this story. Purple is the last color in the spectrum, right before invisible light or ultraviolet light. Because of this, it is considered a very ethereal color, somewhat spiritual and otherworldly. Painters often use it for shadows in paintings rather than use black, which is a harsh, hard muddy color. Because purple is so ethereal, it has a sort of invisible quality to it. If you wear purple you will not stand out; rather you will blend into the background very often. Purple is also considered a royal color, but that shade of purple is usually more toward the blue side. I personally love purple and wear it often. I’d rather not stand out or make a huge splash. Many shy people prefer purple to any other color to wear.

So why not choose red for the color of the story crayon? Red is bold and adventurous, a risk-taking color. Red is passionate and hot, ready to be on the move. I think purple was the perfect choice for the story because it is less adventurous but more imaginative of the colors. Something to think about.

What color would you choose to take an adventure?

“Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.”

— --Chinese Proverb


Comments Loved Whether in Purple Crayon or Not

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on July 14, 2014:

@Elyn MacInnis: It is a gem, isn't it?

Elyn MacInnis from Shanghai, China on July 14, 2014:

I loved this book when I was small. I read it to my children, and am waiting to read it to the next generation. It is a real gem.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on May 29, 2014:

@SteveKaye: ME TOO!!! And here I thought I was the only one. haha.

SteveKaye on May 29, 2014:

Sometimes I buy children's books for myself.

Denise McGill (author) from Fresno CA on February 18, 2014:

@Ruthi: Thank you for visiting.

Ruthi on February 18, 2014:

Indeed, Harold and the Purple Crayons encourages the child in all of us to use our imagination and you are correct in that our creations are aquite real to us, as well as to others. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this wonderful book for kids.

Related Articles