Harold and the Purple Crayon is an illustrated childrens book first published in 1955 by Crockett Johnson. The story follows Harold as he wanders around drawing his own reality with his purple crayon and trying to get home.
Harold is colored in with a blue jumpsuit and Caucasian skin. Everything else in the story is purple, since it was drawn with the crayon; this lets the reader see that Harold is somehow more real than everything else.
It has received several sequels, and also been adapted into a series of children's animated shorts, as well as an animated series on HBO (produced by Sony Pictures Television). The series is completely available on DVD, so no need to hunt hard for it.
A film was in the works, with Sony returning from the series (albeit moving from Adelaide Productions to Sony Pictures Animation) and co-producing with Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment unit. No, really. However, nothing has been heard from it since it was announced in 2010.
The book is aimed at young children, ages 3 to 7, but its a good quick read for adults.
This book provides examples of:
- Adaptation Expansion: The 13-episode HBO series narrated by Sharon Stone.
- Applied Phlebotinum: The crayon.
- Art Initiates Life: Harold's crayon brings his drawings to life.
- Artistic License Animal Care: In one episode, Harold has a goldfish that is kept in a fishbowl. The fish later dies.
- Art Shift: Each episode of the HBO series had Book-Ends set in Harold's bedroom, which looked more realistic than the rest of the backgrounds.
- Bald of Awesome: Harold is mostly bald and the main character.
- Big Friendly Dog: Lilac in the Animated Series.
- Character Name and the Noun Phrase
- Death by Newbery Medal: "I Remember Goldie", wherein Harold's fish Goldie dies and he learns about death.
- Death Is a Sad Thing: Harold learns about death when his pet goldfish dies.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a series about a boy named Harold and his purple crayon.
- The Faceless: Harold's mom in the animated series. The audience mainly got to see her hands; her body was seen once (from the back, so we can't see her face), she's a short-haired brunette woman with a red shirt.
- Face of a Thug: The dragon who guards the apple tree has a menacing appearance that frightens Harold and his friends, but he later turns out to be a Gentle Giant.
- Gentle Giant: The dragon guarding the apple tree looks scary, but is actually very friendly.
- Heroic Mime: Harold. In some episodes of the HBO series, Harold would get to deliver one line, but the narrator would still do most of the talking.
- Limited Animation: 3 classic shorts.
- Mental World: One possible explanation in the books. Played straight in the TV series.
- Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Only Sharon Stone's narration contrasts this.
- Nonstandard Character Design: Harold contrasts against the people he draws, who have little more than purple outlines.
- Reality Warper: Harold can bend his created world to his wants.
- Short-Runner: The animated TV series on HBO Family only lasted 13 episodes.
- Stock Dinosaurs: Played straight and subverted in the episode "Blast From the Past". We have a titanosaur as the main large sauropod Harold searches for, a Pteranodon mother and her baby who accompanies Harold, a Triceratops who serves as the only "mean" dinosaur, and a herd consisting of Stegosaurus, Parasaurolophus, Centrosaurus, Ouranosaurus (or maybe Edaphosaurus), Camptosaurus, and a generic smaller sauropod. Surprisingly, Tyrannosaurus rex only appears as a couple cameos.
- Weird Moon: Always accompanies Harold in his adventures.