“What Did You Do to Your Walls?!”


Earlier today I was reading  Harold and the Purple Crayon to my kids. It’s a cute classic from 1955 with a lot of purple (of course). While I enjoyed Harold’s creativity and hope my kids pick up on it, as an adult I wonder if his parents asked:

“What did you do to your walls?!”

I’m all for creativity and being imaginative, but, preferably, not all over the walls.

See, Harold draws a rather extensive adventure and, while I’d like to think it’s a dream, I can’t help but wonder, what if it isn’t? What if he’s actually drawing with a real purple crayon on his walls? What would his parents say in the morning?

If it were my kids, I would be screaming “what did you do to your walls?!”

And while that’s my question of the day, has anyone noticed that emaciated moose?! It was kind of Harold do give the pie leftovers to a moose (and porcupine), but did it have to be that skinny? And while I’m on that topic, how does this kid even know about hunger and emaciation?

Two theories. One. His parents are humanitarians and care about the people and animals in the world. They’ve taught him to be kind, give to the less fortunate, not be wasteful, and what hunger is. This is lovely and noble and, if Harold can handle it, a great message for kids.,

On the other hand, there are two related options. Either Harold is impoverished and knows hunger first-hand or his parents constantly tell him about all the hungry people and animals in the world to make him finish his meals. Either way, this is a depressing scenario.

When I read this book, which is cute and fun, I’m going to have to keep the first option in mind. After all, it’s a good message to give to kids old enough to understand. But I’d still be asking:

“What did you do to your walls?!”

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