Harold and the Purple Crayon: A New Adventure

­HarperCollins. (I Can Read!). Dec. 2022. 32p. pap. $4.99. ISBN 9780063283343.
PreS-Gr 3–Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson has been a children’s classic since its publication in the mid-1950s. Sadly, this Level 2 beginning reader format is not terribly engaging. The plot is very disjointed, and the main character ages as the story goes along; purists will cringe that the lovable child has become an adult. The story offers concepts like driving and surfing that are not part of young readers’ experiential bases, so no longer can they identify with Harold. Level 2 “I Can Read” books promise engaging stories, longer sentences, and language play for developing readers. This book delivers longer sentences, but evidence of wordplay is nonexistent. The art is cartoony and bears only a mild resemblance to the drawing in the original text. The story of Harold went from magical to mundane.
VERDICT This book disappoints on every level. Instead of this lackluster version, revisit the original.

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