Because four is considered a bad luck number in Asian culture, I offer you five books like Harold and the Purple Crayon … which is to say, books with art supplies that have magical properties including transporting readers and characters into wildly imaginative adventures and worlds.
What are your favorite books with magical drawing items that I should add to my list? Thanks for sharing!
Harold and the Purple Crayon (series) by Crockett Johnson
I loved Harold and the Purple Crayon when I was a kid and now it’s celebrating its 50th anniversary! The idea that a crayon can transport anywhere you can dream up — well, that’s rather like a book too! This is the granddaddy of picture book adventures through a drawing implement.
If you like this book, be sure and find Harold’s ABC, Harold’s Circus, Harold’s Trip to the Sky, Harold at the North Pole, A Picture for Harold’s Room and my second favorite, Harold’s Fairy Tale. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Mina’s White Canvas by Hyeon-Ju Lee
Mina’s crayon is white and when she draws snowflakes on her window, real snowflakes fall in unison on the ground outside. Her crayon can create more than just white objects Mina learns: a brown ladder to help Grandfather Woodpecker, a blue door to help Mr. Bear, warm red socks for Miss Frog, and finally, spots to help Baby Bunny stay connected to Mama Bunny. Mina’s crayon gets used up during this wintry adventure, but it’s worth it for the memories she’s created. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Journey by Aaron Becker
It’s a red crayon that takes a girl on an adventure in this spectacular wordless picture book by opening a door into another world. The red crayon is useful for creating all kinds of transportation vehicles from row boats to hot air balloons. The girl gets caught in a skirmish involving catching a purple bird. She rescues the bird, but not without a loss. Luckily, the bird helps her as well. When she returns home safely, bird in tow, it seems her friend has found something special too. But that’s another adventure for the sequel Quest. [wordless picture book, ages 4 and up]
Quest by Aaron Becker
The sequel to Journey is just as spectacular. Now the girl and her young male friend, both armed with their magic crayons and their rescued bird, meet a mysterious king who pops into their world. He hands them a map and some objects before he is abruptly captured by enemy forces only to disappear as fast as he appeared. With map in hand, these two friends set on their quest … and there’s still more to come. This is a trilogy! [wordless picture book, ages 4 and up]
Art and Max by David Weisner
I had hoped Art and Max would have won a Caldecott but I guess the bar is very high when it would be a record-setting 4th Caldecott! Here’s it’s a paintbrush that wreaks havoc when Art covers Max with paint. Cleaning him up seems to make things worse. Suddenly, he’s just an outline that Art accidentally unravels. Art manages to put Max back together again, but this time resplendent in multicolored glory. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
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