The 11th story of our 25 days is one of the marvelous books in the Harold and the Purple Crayon “series,” Harold at the North Pole. It is by Crockett Johnson and was created in 1957.
You don’t have to be familiar with the original Harold and the Purple Crayon book to appreciate this tale; but if you are, you’ll love it all the more! In this adventure, Harold sets off to find a Christmas tree to decorate before Santa arrives and ends up at the North Pole where Santa is snowed in and needs help.
As always, Harold has his wits, and his purple crayon, about him.
In no time, he has the reindeer harnessed and the sleigh loaded and he still has time to search for that perfect tree and get it home and decorated before Santa appears with his own presents.
Oh the cleverness that is Crockett Johnson’s creations! Harold books are some of my absolute favorites. They are a perfect example of minimal text and simple pictures not repeating each other, and yet weaving a fantastic story that you want to read over and over again. Johnson’s text is so clever and really introduces double meanings that make you rethink language. The line drawings are sparse but perfect as they lead you, and Harold, through the book. And the limited color palette works perfectly. I’ve always wondered why they do the cover Harold in color, but it doesn’t really bother me. Just interesting.
Crockett Johnson was a fabulous artist. I would not do him justice to write a short paragraph trying to capture him and his essence, so to read a good bio and find more links all about him, his work, and his marriage to the wonderful Ruth Krauss, check out this site dedicated to CJ by the knowledgeable Phil Nel (who also has a ton more about Johnson and Krauss on his blog and in his new book).
Follow along our book adventure at 25 Days of Christmas Books.