the scariest children’s book ever

Yes, Harold and the Purple Crayon.  It may be beloved to some, but it has freaked me out since I was very young.  To this day when I read it I am filled with existential dread.

Harold is the only “real” person in a world of nothingness.  Everything around him is an endless white void, and nothing exists unless he creates it with his purple crayon.  Even then things can go wrong, as when he gets scared and his hand shakes and next thing you know, he’s about to drown in the ocean he has created. 

He is alone, with no one to save him.  Sure, he is resourceful and creative and he saves himself, but still, he is alone.

At the end, he’s “home,” but what kind of home is it when you have to create it yourself?  Even as a little kid I knew that wasn’t really his home, it was just a drawing.  And I kept wondering, where are his parents?

I love to be alone.  But Harold, who is always alone, sealed away in his white universe, makes me sad.

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4 thoughts on “the scariest children’s book ever

  1. Girl, I have NEVER interpreted this story that way! What in the world was happening in your life when you first were read this story!? That’s some deep stuff!

  2. I read a children’s book called Scared Stiff. There are several out there but this one scared the begebers out of me. It was about a corpse in an undertakers house that comes to life and chases the children. They chop off body parts and still it chases them. They finally trick it into the crematorium and burn it up. Then the parents come home. They bring a new body with them. Guess what? It is the same body and its head falls sideways and it opens its eyes and looks at the children. I was in my 40’s when I read it and I had nightmares for weeks. Who in their right mind would write something like that for kids? What are we trying to do to our children?

  3. Lisa, who knows? I was a regular happy kid. But losing my parents was my biggest fear, so maybe that’s why Harold’s predicament freaked me out.

    Mystery, that is one scary story. At least it’s obviously scary…Harold isn’t scary to most people. Just oddballs like me.

  4. I don’t read that book. It is kind of freaky when you think about it. I can’t think of a book that scared me when I was a kid. I was fascinated with Grimm’s fairy tales though, they were pretty nasty, LOL.

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