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purple rainDearly beloved, we are gathered here today 2 get through this thing called Life…

We were saddened to hear of Prince’s death yesterday. In honor of the Purple One, here’s a small collection of purple-centric books for young readers — many of them also celebrating the Princely values of individuality, creativity, and imagination. All are recommended by The Horn Book Magazine and Guide.


Picture Books

bechtold_sally and the purple socksSally the duck, star of Lisze Bechtold’s Sally and the Purple Socks, is thrilled with her new purple socks — until they start to grow. And grow. Sally’s flexible, and she turns her socks into, among other things, a hat and scarf, curtains, and a circus tent. Rendered mainly in greens, yellows, and purples, the illustrations reveal a deft comic touch as Sally tries to manage her ever-burgeoning socks. (Philomel, 2008)

henkes_lilly's purple plastic purseEnchanted with school, Lilly wants to be a teacher until one fateful Monday when she gets in trouble. She plots her revenge until her teacher’s final gesture, a thoughtful note and a packet of tasty snacks, makes her feel miserably small. With help, Lilly puts her world to rights in a sensitively crafted, dazzlingly logical conclusion. A skilled caricaturist, author/illustrator Kevin Henkes conveys variations in mood with economy and charm in his classic picture book Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. (Greenwillow, 2006)

krosoczka_ollie the purple elephantWhen the eponymous elephant of Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s Ollie: The Purple Elephant comes to live with the McLaughlins, the family cat and their downstairs neighbor conspire to oust him. After being tricked into joining the circus, Ollie ends up right back where he belongs. The old-fashioned-seeming story benefits from its swift plotting, subtle humor, and bouncy acrylics. (Knopf, 2011)

ziefert_lunchtime for a purple snakeIn Harriet Ziefert’s Lunchtime for a Purple Snake, Jessica and her grandfather create a painting together, with the older generation guiding the younger, first through the mixing of colors and then giving her helpful hints about making the paint “sing.” In Todd McKie’s illustrations, the pair adds images to the painting spread by spread: first the “slithery snake,” then a green bug, a rock, and so on, until the entire painting is ready, a true masterpiece of the kindergarten oeuvre. (Houghton/Lorraine, 2003)



kline_horrible harry and the purple peopleIn Horrible Harry and the Purple People written by Suzy Kline and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz, Harry begins to talk about Purple People; his classmates tease him about his imagination. He escapes the teasing by pouring grape juice on his friend to create a purple person. The story is less concrete than Kline’s other Horrible Harry classroom adventures, and she never resolves why Harry is seeing (or pretending to see) these Purple People, but her sense of classroom dynamics is as strong as ever. (Viking, 1997)

pilkey_captain underpants and the preposterous plight os the purple potty peopleIn Dav Pilkey’s eighth Captain Underpants adventure, Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People, Harold and George teleport in a purple portable potty/time machine to an alternate universe. There they encounter evil versions of themselves and Captain Underpants. Trouble ensues when all five return to their original universe, but with the help of Boxer Boy and Great Granny Girdle (Harold’s grandfather and George’s grandmother), the day is saved. Both the imaginative writing and comic-book-style illustrations are loaded with humor. (Scholastic/Blue Sky, 2006)

spinelli_lizzie logan wears purple sunglasses When Heather moves to a new neighborhood in Eileen Spinelli’s Lizzie Logan Wears Purple Sunglasses, she is befriended by outspoken Lizzie. Lizzie pretends to smoke, scares Heather with stories of man-eating spider plants, and has great ideas for things they can do together — but Heather eventually learns that even Lizzie has her vulnerable side. Especially strong characterizations and unforced humor place this early chapter book above the norm. (Simon, 1999)


And of course this:sep2012coverFAKE.indd:



  1. Regina Griffin says:

    Thank you for this delightful celebration of purple-ness! Caught his spirit, somehow.

  2. Kathleen Rauth says:

    Harold and the Purple Crayon!

  3. Nichole Green says:

    What happened to Purpilicious???

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