An Imagination and a Crayon

 Zayla Drew and Drew on the iPad (3)

I was an ‘80s kid with an ‘80s playroom, which housed everything from cabbage patch dolls and Rainbow Brite to Barbie. I loved my toys; the more, the merrier. That’s the way my children feel about their toys today, while I wonder, hypocritically, “Where are we going to keep all these games and stuffed animals? Is it too much stuff?”

Today, my youngest daughter turns two-years-old, just old enough to appreciate what’s inside the gift box more than the wrapping paper around it. Before she receives her new toys and books, we’re starting the day with an old favorite, Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon, which has charmed readers for almost 60 years.

 HaroldHarold is a little boy who serves as a good example of what’s possible with nothing more than a keen imagination and a crayon. Harold’s leisurely walk in the moonlight turns into a harrowing adventure, as his imagination and his purple crayon get him into and then out of trouble. It’s such a clever book, and I assume it’s the inspiration for a more recent book my youngest also enjoys, Barney Saltzberg’s Andrew Drew and Drew, in which a “doodle boy” named Andrew “never knew what would happen” when he “drew and drew.”

 There’s so much pressure in today’s world of 24-7 advertisements to buy the latest toys for our children, when really, a simple crayon and a piece of paper might do the trick — at least until the little ones learn the joys of the ArtRage app on the iPad.*

*As my daughter has; that’s her artwork above.

Zayla_Then and Now


  1. Happy birthday! She sounds like such a cool little kid with a fantastic personality. Love the pictures of you two!

    I’ll have to check out “Andrew Drew and Drew.” We love Harold in this house, as you know!

    1. I can’t believe my baby is two! She takes after her daddy, and so she looks older than her age (she’s the 97% for height at the moment; I’m wondering when my short genes will kick in, though). She loves both Harold and Andrew. Andrew’s book contains fewer words, and so it’s a better choice for younger toddlers/infants than for older children.

  2. I love the idea of the book you mention. I’ve heard of Harold and the Purple Crayon, but it’s not yet a book in our library.

    Love the photos! It’s amazing how much they grow in such a short amount of time. My daughter is 2 and has more toys than we have room for. I’m always looking at which toys I can give away that won’t be missed. She’s entered the “I want, I want!” phase. Any time we go to the store, she wants everything she sees (luckily she doesn’t seem to mind much–yet–when she doesn’t get it). She gets excited when she receives a new toy or book–just as you said with your daughter: what’s inside the wrapping suddenly matters more. And yet she rarely plays with her toys (other than a handful that are her clear favorites). She’d much rather play pretend. Whether we are hiding in a cave or flying on a rocket ship or cooking for her babies or pretending to be tigers or bears. I am amazed at how imaginative children are at that age!

    1. I highly recommend Harold and the Purple Crayon! It’s such a cute book, and two is a great age for it. My 2-year-old hasn’t quite gotten to the “I want!” phase yet. I’m not looking forward to it! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Haha! That’s awesome. When I saw only the title of this I instantly thought of Harold and the Purple Crayon. What a delight to see he was included in the post!

  4. Oh, she is adorable and an artist in the making. That sounds like a cute book too. You have such a lovely family, they all had a great time at the zoo too, right? I love the Philadelphia zoo, I must visit it when I come down in May.

    1. Thank you! We had a great time at the zoo. The highlight was seeing tiny ducklings. It was a beautiful day, and the magnolias and daffodils were in bloom. I’m sure it will be lovely in May. How long are you going to be in the area?

    1. Cute! My girls really enjoy that book. We’ve been reading it to them since they were infants. It’s funny to listen to my older two talk about how Harold is being selfish when he draws a dragon to guard other people from getting the apples, and then how he redeems himself by sharing the pies!

    1. Thank you! She’s having a nice day, I think. We went to the zoo, and now we’re preparing for our extended family to come over for cake.

    1. It’s such a great book! We’ve been reading it to our girls since they were infants. Now that my older two are five, they ask, “Why is Harold drawing a dragon to guard the apples? Shouldn’t he share the apples?” Then they commend Harold for sharing the pies! It’s cute.

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