Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson cover, small boy with a purple crayon drawing on walls

Cover of Harold and the Purple Crayon

By Crockett Johnson, Harper and Brothers, 1955

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Written and Illustrated by Crockett Johnson

New York, Harper & Brothers, 1955

5" x 6"

Kerlan Collection, Children's Literature Research Collections

University of Minnesota Libraries

This book's sly opening scene—designed to look as if Harold himself has scribbled over the page—cannot have pleased many librarians. The story that follows, however, clearly shows that Crockett Johnson's hero is not a defacer of public property but rather a young person with imagination to spare. As Harold calmly wields his crayon to remake the world according to his wants and wishes, he exemplifies the confident, self-starting child whom progressive educators like Lucy Sprague Mitchell dedicated themselves to nurturing. Aptly for a story with deep roots in the Bank Street School's "here and now" philosophy, Harold's ultimate destination is a city.


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Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson title page, Harold has left dark purple lines from his crayon across the title page

Title page of Harold and the Purple Crayon

By Crockett Johnson, Harper and Brothers, 1955