Harold and the Purple Crayon: Inspired Animation
Who does not remember that magical time when, with a box of new crayons and a fresh sheet of paper, a world of infinite possibility was opened before us? We could do anything, and anything could happen.
My family has recently discovered the 2002 animated tv series, "Harold and the Purple Crayon". Based upon the classic 1955 children's book by Crockett Johnson, it is about a little boy with a magical crayon and a wonderful imagination. Everything Harold draws comes to life as he goes about searching for answers to the many questions that inspire his curiosity.
This series, which can be viewed for free on hulu.com, is unlike any preschool television feature I have ever seen. Instead of the usual "twaddle" children are fed by condescending adults dressed in huge, fuzzy costumes babbling ridiculous nonsense, the creators of Harold honor the true nature of children and the things they are capable of. Harold is depicted with a combination of innocence and wide-eyed wonder. His curiosity is infectious and his creativity inspiring. Even my two-year-old son, while watching one of the episodes, begged me to get down the crayons and paper so he could doodle along.
The animation is also quite original. The drawings are simple, yet captivating. Reminiscent of cartoons from an earlier era, the colors and lines flow across the screen almost hypnotically to a music-dominated script, interrupted only with tidbits of narration and an occasional line from the characters. This gives ample opportunity for a running commentary by delighted viewers, who find plenty of things to discuss excitedly as the stories and themes overlap with their own imaginations, wishes and life experiences.
Parents also find that Harold learns many lessons which correspond to what they are trying to teach their children. For instance, in "Harold's Birthday Gift", Harold uses his crayon to create a birthday party for himself. Though he cannot wait to open his presents, he keeps having to stop and make sure his guests are having a good time. Finally, his friend the hungry moose devours the cake and all the presents, and Harold storms angrily away. This time he decides to enjoy his birthday all alone. But he realizes that his friends are far more important than getting the presents he wants, and learns that it is better to give than to receive.
If you have young children and are looking for a way to spend a rainy evening, why not step into Harold's world, and share the delight together?
Harold on Hulu
- Hulu - Harold and the Purple Crayon
Show description: Based on the classic book by Crockett Johnson, Harold And The Purple Crayon brings to life the adventures of a curious little boy consumed with thoughts, questions, and feelings that pre-schoolers experience.