Color My World - Purple! Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Ruth Krauss, 1955

Bringing the bigness of the outside world under a child’s control. At the outset, the simple white background, cartoon child and purple line make this book seem slight, simple. Cute and childlike. But it’s ultimately a story of empowerment – Harold walks in the moonlight: the big, dark world outside of his control. But, oh, good! He has to draw the moon; the world is now entirely of his own making. He faces his fears, but always safely, always with the tools in hand that he needs to conquer them. A couple items of note:

  • Several concepts are introduced: animals, the number nine, though they seem rather artificial. 
  • There’s a cute play on words, “drew up the covers.” 

An aside: I read this as a child (was read to me) and I remember finding the ending disconcerting. Harold never does find his actual real-world bed, only the bed of his own creation.