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Harold and the Purple Crayon

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 draws one. He has nowhere to walk, so he draws a path. He has many adventures looking for his room, and in the end he draws his own house and bed and goes to sleep.

Book series

  • Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955)
  • Harold's Fairy Tale (1956)
  • Harold's Trip to the Sky (1957)
  • Harold at the North Pole (1958)
  • Harold's Circus (1959)
  • A Picture for Harold's Room (1960)
  • Harold's ABC (1963)


The original story was adapted by Weston Woods Studios and Brandon Films into a seven-minute short film in 1959, directed by David Piel and narrated by Norman Rose. In 1971, Gene Deitch directed an animation of A Picture for Harold's Room, and in 1974 an animation of Harold's Fairy Tale. In 1993, these three animations were packaged with a documentary, and sold as the Harold and the Purple Crayon and Other Harold Stories set.

There have also been theater adaptations.

In the couch gag for the Simpsons episode "The Bob Next Door", Harold is shown drawing the Simpson family living room during the regular title sequence. Homer also asks Harold to draw him a can of beer after he finishes with the living room.

In 2011, the story was adapted as an interactive book for the iPad by Trilogy Studios.

Television series

In 2002, the stories were adapted by Adelaide Productions into a 13-episode television series for HBO narrated by Sharon Stone and featuring Connor Matheus as the voice of Harold. The series won a Daytime Emmy Award for "Main Title Design", and was nominated for an Annie Award and Humanitas Prize. There has also been VHS and DVD releases.

This show focuses on Harold using his purple crayon to explore a new world. Each episode has Harold focusing on life lessons throughout his journeys.



In February 2010, it was reported that Sony Pictures Animation and Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment are developing a CGI-animated film adaptation of Harold and the Purple Crayon. It is being produced by Smith and James Lassiter, and written by Josh Klausner. In December 2016, it had been reported that the film will also be written by Dallas Clayton.


The book inspired programmer Petri Purho to create the computer game Crayon Physics Deluxe, The book potentially inspired the kid's TV show Chalkzone, and has been used frequently in children's and art education lesson plans. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". In 2012 it was ranked number 16 among the "Top 100 Picture Books" in a survey published by School Library Journal.

One of the protagonists in Captain Underpants, Harold Hutchins, is named after the protagonist in the book, along with George Beard being named after the protagonist in Curious George.

In Rob Reiner's 1999 romantic comedy The Story of Us, Kate (Michelle Pfeiffer) says that Harold and the Purple Crayon is one of her favorite books and an allegory for her marriage with Ben (Bruce Willis). She later explains that Ben just wouldn't "share the crayon," and that she feels she has been living in his world rather than one she had helped create.


External links

  • Crockett Johnson Homepage: Books: The Harold Series
  • The Appeal of 'Harold and the Purple Crayon', NPR - All Things Considered, May 29, 2005
  • Official website for the television series at HBO Family. Archived from the original on March 18, 2006.
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon on IMDb

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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