Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Review: Harold and the Purple Crayon


Review of Harold and the Purple Crayon

        Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson is an imaginative classic. I love how the story flows so neatly from one thing to another. For instance, Harold’s sailboat never actually moves relative to the scene, Harold simply adds land. The art itself is uncluttered crayon-style outlines, except for Harold himself, who toddles about in a plain blue sleeping bag.

        Plenty of plot. Harold has a new adventure looming with each page turn. (Johnson wrote six sequels if you need more). There are also several cute word-puns in the story, which make me feel engaged as an adult. The story raises a lot of questions. Do dragons eat apples? How many kinds of pie actually exist? Why does the moon follow people wherever they wander?

        Harold is safe in his room the whole time, while also running around experiencing dangerous adventures. It’s the perfect juxtaposition of adventure and safety for a toddler hero. Harold’s adventure draws a wonderful suspension of disbelief, but no matter what happens, Harold is in control. He holds the magical purple crayon that defines his world.

        I need a magical purple crayon.

        In short, the story is absolutely fantastic. The art is simple, but suits the story perfectly. 

5 stars!

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Review: Kaia and the Sea


Review of Kaia and the Sea

        Kaia and the Sea is a wordless picture book by Jestenia Southerland. Kaia wakes up with a pod of seals. She dons a witch hat and a cape, and spends the day exploring under the sea. Her cape is an extremely well-designed imitation of a fish. When Kaia swims slowly, it billows behind her, but when she needs speed, it wraps close, giving the impression of a mermaid.

        It’s cute. The entire book sticks to the colors of a beach. Each fish is unique, even when a school is swimming across the page. The fish and other sea life are drawn accurately, in a realistic, gentle cartooning style that favors pastel colors and soft lines. Ms. Sutherland has used beautiful digital painting to create this delightful array of sea life. It’s adorable and engaging. The lack of words facilitates the story-telling, as there is a clear presentation of the narrative, and lots of detail to captivate the reader. There is even a bit of drama when a school of marlins race past, disrupting Kaia’s excursion.

Five stars! This means it is excellent and worth rereading.

        This book has 32 pages. The print version is a perfect-bound paperback. Probably most appealing for ages three through eight, or anyone who enjoys art and large aquariums.