Must Have List: One Purple Crayon

Ranked #1,560 in Books, Poetry & Writing, #51,513 overall

Every Boy Needs A Crayon

Raising three boys means I raised bits and pieces of quite a few other young men as well. How so? Well, each of my son’s had his own friends, and those friends might have brothers, and before you knew it the double batch of chocolate chip cookies was gone. The house was in a comfortable shambles, knee hockey sticks, light sabers, and legos scattered everywhere. And, depending on which boys devoured the cookies, a new story or two was added to my mental bookshelf of memories.

Especially if one of the young ones was Tom. I am pretty sure Crockett Johnson misnamed this book. It has always been my sons’ friend Thomas who comes to my mind when I think of a boy with a traveling story line. When Tom came over he regaled the group with the most outrageous stories, delivered with enthusiasm and a wide-eyed assurance that each and every word was true. Adults and kids alike would listen, mesmerized, as he told tale after tale.

If I gently pressed him to admit something could not have possibly happened he would take a deep breath and wander a different direction with the story. All his adventures began with an event that had a factual basis but then journeyed, like Harold, into the wild and mystical landscape of Tom’s mind. The biggest fish, the hardest slap shot, the craziest great-uncle — all Tom’s stories dealt with hyperbole, and none of them really ended until some other boy wrestled him to the floor or everyone went back outside to play ghosts in the graveyard or home run derby in the back.

But Some Need A Purple One

Harold and the Purple Crayon helped this mom and her sons make sense of a world that sometimes seems crazy, without structure or the expected happy endings. If you are not familiar with the book it is a fairly simple premise with a rich, embroidered rendition. Harold wonders about the world outside his window one night at bedtime and, with the help of an ever-shining crescent moon, drawn in typical resourceful manner by himself, he wanders out into its blank canvas, his trusty purple crayon clutched in his fist. Harold draws his own journey, imagines his conflicts and problems, solving them with quick thinking and a deft hand on the crayon. He then sails home again on waves of imagination and ingenuity to a homey window and comfy bed upon which he “draws” his covers, safe and snug.

Tom’s mom was a dear friend with three sons like me, but with a challenge I would wish on no one. Ever since she discovered a lump when nursing her youngest son she battled an aggressive breast cancer. Our families of hockey playing boys grew closer as the cancer fought constantly to take her away. Each of her kids dealt with unspeakable sadness, fear and anger in his own way with the adults doing what they could to support.

Tom’s over-the-top tales where he slew any manner of dragons were a way, I believe, to try to manage the feeling of helplessness and terror he experienced as his mother bravely faced her aggressor. Partially to gain some attention as the middle son and partially to hold the wolf behind the door Tom sat at the kitchen counter with me time and time again telling his stories. One day I remember saying, “Thomas, you certainly have a purple crayon!” hugging him as he pulled away, semi-indignantly, to continue the tale.

He was puzzled, so I gathered that day’s “wild-bunch” together in front of the fireplace and read them Harold and the Purple Crayon. My three were familiar with the story line and shouted out Harold’s solutions to certain tragedy and possible death. Tom, listening at last, absorbed the story and to a great extent the point I had been making. His eyes twinkled and he relaxed with the rest as Harold “drew” his destiny, with that steadfast moon lighting the way back to home.

Hold Tightly To That Crayon

The loss of a parent is devastating whenever it happens, and when Tom lost his mom at age 15 he struggled mightily. His friends and family did what they could, some dealing with their own raw pain. I was extremely proud of my sons and their care and compassion for Thomas, which continues to this day. No longer the passel of pups that tossed the living room, that cookie-eating crew has grown into giants who tower over me.

Still willing to come into our home to spin his tales, Tom regularly visits. He tears my heart out on Mother’s Day and Christmas by calling me his “second mom,” and then reattaches and repairs it instantly with his bear hug. He considers my sons his brothers and cheers them on or cuts them down to size depending on what they need at any given point. My husband keeps up with the latest local craft beers as Tom has a case with him every few visits to repay for the breakfasts, lunches, and dinners he shared with us while growing up.

Tom held onto his sanity as a child and adolescent with his stories, meandering, wild, outrageous, and always charming. When he sits down on the couch with my husband and me these days, sans light saber or knee hockey stick, he still prefaces the conversation by saying, “Let me take out my purple crayon and tell you what I’ve been doing.”

Harold is probably drawing me a tissue right now.

Here are a couple of videos — one just a bit edgier than the other. Good literature always encourages a range of approaches to sharing, doesn’t it?

Short, sweet and to the point. Just like Harold. Nice job!

A little different, but Harold would approve. We all need to find our own way.

What color is your crayon?

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  • smine27 Feb 23, 2014 @ 5:27 am
    I loved reading this. I need to get myself a red crayon. :)
  • LynnKK Feb 23, 2014 @ 11:58 pm
    Thanks for the visit and the kind words.
  • MarcellaCarlton Feb 18, 2014 @ 2:00 pm
    Wow! What a great lens. That is all I can say for now.
  • LynnKK Feb 18, 2014 @ 3:59 pm
    Thank you so much! Appreciate your stopping by.
  • Upon-Request Feb 16, 2014 @ 2:12 pm
    Lovely lens -I remember reading this one to my son as a kid
  • LynnKK Feb 16, 2014 @ 2:39 pm
    Thank you for the kind words. It is a book that I think many people treasure.
  • LynnKK Feb 16, 2014 @ 2:40 pm
    Thanks for the kind words. It is a great book to read to your sons.
  • Feb 16, 2014 @ 7:05 am
    Great sad story. Really sorry about their Mom.
  • LynnKK Feb 16, 2014 @ 12:20 pm
    Thanks for visiting. It is sad but with a lot of family and friend support they have moved forward. Just had Tom drop by on Valentine's Day to eat some Chocolate Silk Pie with his "other brothers" and my husband and me. I feel her in the room with us...
  • Mavric08 Feb 15, 2014 @ 7:11 pm
    WOW....job well done on LOTD.
  • takkhis Feb 10, 2014 @ 11:29 am
    Thank you for sharing this great story with us! I am just amazed reading your lens.
  • LynnKK Feb 10, 2014 @ 11:51 am
    Thank you, takkhis.
  • skiesgreen Feb 03, 2014 @ 9:36 pm
    Congratulations on a beautiful story and great lens. Now I know why my crayon is green. Hugs
  • LynnKK Feb 03, 2014 @ 10:12 pm
    Thank you for the kind and caring words -- and the cool and calming greens
  • jsr54 Feb 03, 2014 @ 9:20 pm
    This is my favorite review lens to date. You are a wonderful story teller; I felt like I was at your kitchen table witnessing the events. Fantastic job and one of the best LOTD yet.
  • LynnKK Feb 03, 2014 @ 10:17 pm
    Thanks so much! I am honored to have this opportunity.
  • KathyT Feb 03, 2014 @ 8:57 am
    What a fabulous lens and story. Congratulations on a truly lovely LotD. Tom sounds like quite the character, and I'm glad he has had you as his "second mom." This brought tears to my eyes. Just beautiful.
  • LynnKK Feb 03, 2014 @ 11:19 am
    Thank you, Kathy. I really appreciated all the support I got for writing this lens.
  • patgoltz Feb 02, 2014 @ 10:42 pm
    Wow ! This blew me away! Congratulations on a well deserved LotD! I shall remember this when I face the challenges of life. There is a lot of courage here.
  • LynnKK Feb 03, 2014 @ 4:42 am
    Thank you much. I agree about the courage. It comes in many forms.
  • rauspitz Feb 02, 2014 @ 2:25 pm
    Very, very cool lens. Congratulations on getting LotD!
  • LynnKK Feb 02, 2014 @ 3:21 pm
    Thanks very much! Appreciate the support.
  • Graceonline Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:37 am
    It is clear to see why this lens was awarded Lens of the Day. What a beautiful, touching and poignant story to accompany your review of the book. Must check it out for our collection of children's stories.
  • LynnKK Feb 02, 2014 @ 1:34 pm
    Thanks, Grace. You will enjoy the book as will any little ones who are lucky enough to hear you read it.
  • Colin323 Feb 02, 2014 @ 4:09 am
    A most interesting blend of review and personal reflection. I liked this lens very much indeed.
  • LynnKK Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:15 am
    Thank you very much. When you are reading to young kids sometimes the book itself is the story -- if that makes any sense at all. Appreciate the support.
  • carknack Feb 02, 2014 @ 3:43 am
    What a well done tale, poignant and sweet. You influenced more than a few lives dear lady
  • LynnKK Feb 02, 2014 @ 1:38 pm
    Thank you for your kind comment.
  • 1angelsbestkeptsecrets Feb 02, 2014 @ 3:14 am
    Congratulations on LOTD.You surely deserved it. Your story was one of the most touching lenses I've read. It's wonderful the relationship you and Tom have, and he with your sons. Sounds like a great book, too. I'd like to read it. I guess as my kids grew up we missed that one. Thanks!
  • LynnKK Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:16 am
    Thanks very much for your kind words! Please investigate the book -- it really comes in handy in a straightforward way, and also as a way to explain bigger issues in love and life.
  • DaisyDixon Feb 02, 2014 @ 12:22 am
    Wow, I think you did an amazing job on this. Congratulations on getting LOTD. I love your writing, and voice in this review. You did an excellent job!
  • LynnKK Feb 02, 2014 @ 11:18 am
    Daisy, thank you so much. I have really enjoyed letting my fingers fly on some of these lenses. You as well, I can see. Talk to you soon and thanks again for your extremely kind words.
  • CalobrenaOmai Feb 01, 2014 @ 11:43 pm
    I saw Corduroy! I used to own this book when I was little and read it every chance I got. Some months back, my nephew was introduced to the book and he loved it. I remember the Harold book from reading time in the class I help out in. The Alexander book is another reading time selection. Such an awesome lens! Thanks for sharing.
  • LynnKK Feb 02, 2014 @ 12:00 am
    Thanks for your memories. Appreciate all who dropped by and you were so very kind.
  • d-artist Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:57 pm
    Congratulations on LOTD! Great review, nicely written.
  • LynnKK Feb 02, 2014 @ 12:02 am
    Thanks very much. This was an exciting day and a great honor.
  • sybil-watson Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:37 pm
    I'm so happy for you! Congratulations on your LOTD - what a great start to your Squidoo career. Thank you for sharing such a heartwarming story.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:39 pm
    I am amazed something like this happened so quickly. Thank you for your support and kind words.
  • Steve_Kaye Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:44 pm
    Wonderful story within a story. Congratulations on receiving the LOTD. This is an excellent example of an outstanding lens.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:09 pm
    Thank you very much. This has been a great day and I appreciate the support I have received from the Squidoo community!
  • RubyHRose Feb 01, 2014 @ 7:00 pm
    Congrats on LotD! What a wonderful story. Love your review. Gotta go check it out now. Boys will be boys, I know about 3 of them turning into 6 alright.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 7:04 pm
    Thanks for the congratulations and I am so glad the review left you wanting to read the book!
  • favored1 Feb 01, 2014 @ 4:39 pm
    Sounds like a wonderful story of imagination. Congratulations on LotD.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 4:46 pm
    Thanks so much. I was lucky to have a great book to review and some wonderful kids to inspire me.
  • ibidii Feb 01, 2014 @ 2:28 pm
    Awesome lens. My youngest got the Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day book and I loved reading it to her. I only had one son, but he and his 4 friends from the neighborhood were always at my home. I fed them quite frequently. Hot dogs and mac and cheese were flowing like water for them. We had a pool so that is why our house was very popular for the son, his friends and my 3 daughters and friends. So we always had a horde at our house. I have not read Harold and the Purple crayon so it will be on my list even though all my kids are adults and my grand kids [6 of them so far] are age 12 to 18.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 3:02 pm
    Thanks so much for stopping by. And very nice to meet another "den mother." I am sure if you experience Harold and the Purple Crayon you will quickly see why it is such a good read. Appreciate your support.
  • chrisilouhoo Feb 01, 2014 @ 2:12 pm
    This was my favourite book as a child and now it's my go to book for baby showers! Thanks for a great review and a lovely story.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 2:13 pm
    It is one of the best. What a great idea for a gift! Thanks for stopping by.
  • susan-zutautas Feb 01, 2014 @ 1:35 pm
    I've never read Harold and the Purple Crayon before but from what you've said here I'm positive it is a wonderful book with a great message. I was thrilled when I saw that you'd gotten LOTD today and so happy that I've met you through Squidoo. Congrats!
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 2:12 pm
    Thank you Susan! It has been wonderful meeting you as well and I know we will have a lot of fun reading and writing. Harold and the Purple Crayon really is a great book to have on your shelf for kids or even yourself -- particularly when you need a little inspiration to make things happen.
  • creativeexpress Feb 01, 2014 @ 1:12 pm
    This is a great lens... This is a wonderful children's book
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 1:15 pm
    Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words. It is a wonderful book -- such a jumping off point for young and not so young.
  • DeniseMcGill Feb 01, 2014 @ 12:37 pm
    Oh, this absolutely deserves LotD! This was the best, most heart-felt, tender review I have read in a long time. Koodos.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 1:14 pm
    Thank you so much, Denise. I am honored to have been awarded the LOTD and am grateful the story has touched hearts.
  • luggnutz13 Feb 01, 2014 @ 12:20 pm
    I love the look of your lens. Congrats on LOD!
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 1:13 pm
    Thank you so much. Life is colorful!
  • StrongMay Feb 01, 2014 @ 11:23 am
    I'm so glad to see you made Lens of the Day!!! Much deserved!
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 11:28 am
    Thank you very much!
  • 3michi Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:27 am
    loved your lens. :D
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:46 am
    Appreciate your visit. Looks like you are just starting out here on Squidoo, too. Good writing to you!
  • partybuzz Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:20 am
    Great book review! Congratulations on LotD!
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:45 am
    Thank you very much. I am astonished at this honor!
  • RenaissanceWoman2010 Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:11 am
    Oh, color this exquisite! Purple magnificence. You drew me in with your word crayons. I'll bet you have the ultimate 152- count Crayola pack. I always wanted one of those when I was Thomas and Harold's age. Still, it's pretty hard to beat one magical purple crayon. It can take you anywhere you want to go. Thanks for taking us on this inspirational journey. Congrats on Lens of the Day! I'm breaking out the crayons in celebration. :-)
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:45 am
    When I worked with slightly older kids I bought them the Crayola "Tower of Crayons." If they were good, or even if they were struggling (I worked for many years with kids with behavioral issues) those crayons helped us get through many a day. Thanks for the kind words. I bow to all of you; your lenses and the whole Squidoo platform is the inspiration.
  • CarolHoule Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:55 am
    You have a purple crayon yourself, Miss Lynn. This is a beautiful and inspiring lens.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 10:41 am
    Thank you for the kind words. Miss Lynn --that's what my students call me. :-) As in , :Miss Lynn, Miss Lynn, Miss Lynn, Miss Lynn!!" Kids are amazing and they need us so much.
  • TheCreative Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:37 am
    Thanks for sharing this lens.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:42 am
    Thanks for visiting!
  • grammieo Feb 01, 2014 @ 8:43 am
    Great Lens and love the sharing of the kids, yours and their friends. Good that they had a place to get chocolate chip cookies and an ear to listen.......
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:13 am
    I can only hope that others take the communal raising of kids seriously. It is a complex world, and the more ears, hearts and cookie the better. Thanks for your visit!
  • KarenKay Feb 01, 2014 @ 8:40 am
    Beautifully written! I love how you pulled your own personal story into this one. Makes it so much more meaningful. Well done!
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:12 am
    Thanks, KK. I was given much when I raised all those rowdy boys. My joke is always that they can eat the cookies if they come to visit me in the "home" later in life. It is often said but still true -- it takes a village.
  • tonyleather Feb 01, 2014 @ 8:26 am
    What a very lovely post! Thank you!
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:09 am
    Tony, thank you for your support and encouraging comments many times here at Squidoo. It is wonderful to share with such an intelligent audience.
  • Merrci Feb 01, 2014 @ 7:40 am
    Excellent. Wonderful review and wonderful to hear about Tom. Well said! Congrats on well deserved LotD!
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:08 am
    Thanks, Merrci! Very much appreciate the support. I am a bit overwhelmed today!
  • StephenJParkin Feb 01, 2014 @ 7:11 am
    Well done indeed you are a truly great Mum first or second!
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:07 am
    Thanks for the thumbs up and the lovely comment! Big day for me and I appreciate your being a part of it.
  • PaigSr Feb 01, 2014 @ 6:58 am
    I think I liked watching this better than reading it. And that is saying something from someone that loves books. Very well deserved LotD
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:06 am
    Take a look at ALL the YouTubes on Harold! It is such a wonderful story and sits behind me in my little reading nook at school. Kids today love it as much as ever, and with today's technology they are recording their takes on it for all to see. Very much appreciate your visit.
  • esmonaco Feb 01, 2014 @ 5:43 am
    What an amazing review, and just a wonderful story behind it. Thanks for sharing this and Congratulations on LOTD!!! Very Well Deserved!!!
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:04 am
    Thank you for you kind words and for being so very welcoming here on Squidoo. I am honored.
  • Ruthi Feb 01, 2014 @ 2:33 am
    Oh my, I think I need a purple crayon to color my tears away. What a touching look at you and your family you have shared in this review article. Yes, Harold and the Purple Crayon need to draw your readers a box of tissues.
  • LynnKK Feb 01, 2014 @ 9:03 am
    Thank you, Ruthi! I have a rand new box (purple) Harold just drew right here. Thanks so much for the heartfelt comment. I hope we can all be there for the kiddos who need us.
  • Susan52 Jan 31, 2014 @ 1:14 pm
    Love this so-very-personal review of a wonderful classic. Thanks for sharing your heart!
  • LynnKK Jan 31, 2014 @ 4:07 pm
    Thanks for the kind words, Susan. He is a pretty special young man and I was glad to be able to help him out just a little.
  • StrongMay Jan 30, 2014 @ 8:24 am
    I think this purple crayon deserves a Purple star, so I nominated you (fingers crossed). :)
  • LynnKK Jan 30, 2014 @ 10:28 am
    Thank you so very much!
  • StrongMay Jan 30, 2014 @ 8:17 am
    I have this book! I loved it as a kid (can't leave all the adventures to the boys now can we, Harold? After all, what's the purple for). I stumbled across it just recently (unpacking after a move), and the stories are just as delightful today as they once were. This particular book has four stories in it - the first book of mine to finish a story but not the book - which is awesome!
    We also have a game called The Purple Crayon, where at each person's turn they pick up a card that has an object written on it, the player has to draw that object into the story, and pass the story on to the next person, etc. The game ends when a player can't remember all the details of the outrageous adventure of the story.
    And as far as lenses go, this one is very good!
  • LynnKK Jan 30, 2014 @ 10:28 am
    Love the extensions from this very special story. And I quite agree -- everyone needs her purple crayon.