"One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight."
I have read this first line of Harold and the Purple Crayon to my son regularly for years. But that was as far in the book as I could get because he always responded, “Nuh-uh,” then closed the book and grabbed his dinosaur encyclopedia instead.
Finally, just the other night, he carefully slid it out of the vertical stacks of books on his shelf and said, “Let’s read this one, Mommy.”
We sat on his bed and read it together, each enjoying it immensely, but each getting something totally different out of the book. My son liked the fact that it was a magic crayon. And he liked guessing what Harold was going to draw on the next page.
I enjoyed figuring out how Harold was going to get out of this ridiculous mess he’d got himself into! It had been years since I’d read the book and I’d forgotten how Harold got home. (But hey—if you need the name of any predatory dinosaur, I’m your girl!)
I figured that since Harold had drawn himself a boat when he found himself in deep water, he’d just draw himself a car and a nice detailed map in order to get himself back to his cozy bedroom. But that’s not what happened.
The story ended up being about perspective. That if you look at a problem in a different way, you might just figure it out. Harold created an entire city with many windows, but he realized that none of them were his. Then, he remembered how he used to see the moon through the window of his room. Which meant all he needed to do was draw a box around the moon…and he’d be back inside looking out.
When we got to that page in the book, I tried to explain to my son that Harold was now inside his bedroom looking out. His eyes got huge and I was afraid his brain was going to explode. I thought he’d never want to read the book again. But that’s not what happened.
The next morning, at 6:30 a.m., my boy tip-toed into my bedroom, placed the book next to me and whispered, “I want to draw a city…just like Harold.”
So he did...