Cover Page

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgments

“Why? Why? Why?”: Children, Philosophy, and Picture Books

Introducing Philosophy

Reading This Book

Chapter 1: Harold and the Purple Crayon: Can You Get Wet Swimming in an Imaginary Ocean?

Discussing Metaphysics with Children

Chapter 2: The Important Book: Is a Leopard without Its Spots Still a Leopard?

Discussing Essentialism with Children

Chapter 3: Shrek!: Could a Dead Skunk Smell Good?

Discussing the Philosophy of Language with Children

Chapter 4: Let's Do Nothing!: Can You Just Do Nothing at All?

Discussing “Nothing” with Children

Chapter 5: Knuffle Bunny: How Do You Know I'm Angry If I Don't Say So?

Discussing the Philosophy of Mind with Children

Chapter 6: Many Moons: Do Experts Really Know More?

Discussing the Theory of Knowledge with Children

Chapter 7: Yellow and Pink: Could Human Life Have Arisen Purely by Chance?

Discussing Arguments for the Existence of God with Children

Chapter 8: Morris the Moose: How Do You Know When You've Made a Mistake?

Discussing Mistakes with Children

Chapter 9: Emily's Art: What's the Difference between Saying the Mona Lisa Is a Great Painting and Vanilla Is Your Favorite Flavor?

Discussing the Philosophy of Art with Children

Chapter 10: Miss Nelson Is Missing!: Is It Okay for Adults to Deceive Kids?

Discussing the Morality of Deception with Children

Chapter 11: The Giving Tree: How Can It Be Wrong to Give Someone What They Want?

Discussing Environmental Ethics with Children

Chapter 12: “Cookies”: What Good Is Having Will-Power If You Don't Have Any More Cookies?

Discussing Will-Power with Children

Chapter 13: Frederick: Can You Enjoy Doing Something Even If It's Work?

Discussing Work with Children

Chapter 14: The Sneetches: Isn't It All Right to Discriminate in Choosing Your Friends?

Discussing Discrimination with Children

Chapter 15: The Paper Bag Princess: What's Wrong with “Living Happily Ever After”?

Discussing Feminist Philosophy with Children

Chapter 16: The Big Orange Splot: Is There Anything Wrong with Conformity?

Discussing Existentialism with Children

Taking Picture Books Seriously

Who's Who: Thumbnail Biographies of the Philosophers

What's What: Key Philosophical Terms

Next Steps: Additional Philosophical Picture Books

More Next Steps: Digging Deeper into Philosophy

Books

Audio Material

The Web

Title Page

In memory of Gareth B. Matthews who first showed me the wisdom in picture books

1

This book has benefitted from the support and contributions of many people. First, I want to thank Abby Goodnough, the New York Times reporter who wrote a wonderful article about my work introducing elementary school children to philosophy (accessible on www.teachingchildrenphilosophy.org). While reading Big Ideas for Little Kids, the book in which I describe my program, she commented on how the chapters in which I discussed the picture books we use in elementary school classrooms really helped her understand philosophy. It was like an introduction to philosophy, she remarked. A light went off in my head and the present book is the outcome of my illumination.

The students in my first-year seminar, Approaching Philosophy through Picture Books, in the fall of 2010, convinced me that this was a book worth writing. The excitement and delight they had thinking philosophically about picture books confirmed my belief in this project, and I am very appreciative of their help in thinking about the philosophical issues in the books we discussed together.

I am truly grateful for the enthusiasm with which my editor at Wiley-Blackwell, Jeff Dean, whom I feel privileged to call a friend, greeted this project. Not only did he help me formulate my ideas, but Jeff also hung in with me as I struggled to find an appropriate style with which to write the book. Although I am the author of a number of philosophy books that I thought were written in a popular style, he showed me that I had a long way to go to reach the right degree of accessibility. Whether he succeeded, only the readers of this book can judge.

A number of people read various parts of the book. My good friend, Lewis Popper, read an earlier version and helped me make it less arcane. My son, Jake, read a number of chapters in the penultimate version of the manuscript and gave excellent suggestions that have improved the book. Kate Thomson-Jones and Meredith Michaels also gave me useful feedback. Anna Faherty of Strategic Content went over some of my manuscript with a fine-toothed comb and helped shape the final manuscript. Difficult as her suggestions were for me to accept, the book bears evidence of their utility. And the Facebook friends of Teaching Children Philosophy helped me figure out a title that I hope captures the spirit of this book.

Joy Kinigstein was great to work with. Her illustrations shed fresh light on the puzzling situations envisioned in the chapter subtitles.

Without the support of my wife, Wendy Berg, I would not have been able to give this book the attention it needed. She discussed many of my ideas with me, read a great deal of the manuscript, debated various suggestions for the book's title, and generally gave me invaluable suggestions about how to improve this book. I am immensely grateful for all that she has done for me in seeing this book to fruition.

I dedicate this book to the memory of the person who not only taught me that children were natural-born philosophers, but who also showed me that it was possible to live a life infused with the Socratic spirit, the late Gareth B. Matthews. Gary's patience, generosity, intelligence, humor, and keen appreciation of life serve as a model for me in more than just a professional sense. I imagine him reading this book with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye. I regret that he did not live to have that opportunity.

Lower Highland Lake
Goshen, Massachusetts
August 31, 2012

1

Parents are all too aware of their children's innate inquisitiveness, having been frequently greeted with the repeated refrain: “Why?”, “Why?”, “Why?” When you are trying to finish the week's grocery shopping, you just don't have time for your kids' questions: “Mom, why do we have to pay for food?” “Daddy, if people don't have money to pay for food, is it all right for them to steal what they need to survive?” Enough. You've got a thousand things to do before dinner. You just can't be bothered answering so many difficult questions.

These children's harried parents may not realize that their kids' quest for understanding allies them with philosophers, whose own determined search for answers can be just as annoying to friends, colleagues, and family. The last thing you want to hear when you are late for a doctor's appointment is your philosopher-friend's query, “Have you ever stopped to consider that time may not be real?” Kids and philosophers seem determined to place obstacles in our way as we try to complete the various tasks life demands.

When you reflect upon this tendency in more leisurely circumstances than your weekly trip to the grocery store affords, you'll realize that these annoying tendencies are the result of both children and philosophers trying to understand puzzling features of their—and our—lives. The reason that they both keep asking “Why?” is that they refuse to skip over those confounding aspects of reality that most of us ignore as we attend to our everyday concerns.

Not every question a child asks is philosophical. Many times, they are wondering about how things work and the answers are essentially technical or scientific. The paradigmatic child's question, “Why is the sky blue?”, might seem to be asking an adult to trot out the laws of refraction, for these do explain why the sky is blue. However, even in what appears a request for scientific information, a philosophical puzzle is concealed, viz. What type of thing is the sky? Although we ordinarily may talk as if there were a sort of painted dome around the earth that we call “the sky,” we all know that there is no such thing. So a child's question might push us to ask, “Does the sky actually exist?” And if, as I have been suggesting, it doesn't, at least in the form we naively take it to, we might begin to wonder how we can be aware of something that doesn't really exist. Behind many of the questions that children ask, there lie deep questions about the nature of the world they—and we—inhabit, questions that most of us adults have put aside, perhaps because we have no clear answers to them.

Writers of great picture books are well attuned to the features of the world that baffle young children. Since many of these bewildering puzzles also befuddle philosophers, picture books frequently focus on philosophical issues. This book shows how many of the essential problems of philosophy are made tangible by the picture books your children—and you—know so well. In turn, much of the enjoyment that picture books deliver comes from the inventive ways in which writers and illustrators present genuine philosophical puzzles that intrigue children and adults alike.

What you'll find in these pages is an introduction to a wide range of philosophical concepts and questions, from all the distinct areas of philosophy. Philosophers concern themselves with many different types of questions: Is there a correct way to act in even the most trying of circumstances? Is it all right to harm natural things when doing so helps people? How much can you change something before it no longer is the same thing? Are all people essentially the same? If you think that you know something, does that mean that people who disagree with you are wrong? Such questions are the stuff of philosophy and you'll see how picture books also puzzle over them.

Introducing Philosophy

My presentation of the questions raised by children's picture books in the following chapters will introduce you to many different philosophical questions and areas of investigation. Now, however, I want to say something about philosophy in general. It will be useful to have an idea of what philosophy is as you delve into the more specific issues presented in the following chapters.

Most of the time, as you live your life, you are engaged in the various activities that make it up. When you are grocery shopping, for example, you pause to remember what you need to buy or which type of vegetable looks freshest. You are thinking, but your thinking is oriented towards your task of shopping. Same thing holds when you are balancing your checkbook. You are thinking about numbers, indeed likely puzzling over them, but only in so far as they help you see whether you and your bank agree about how much money is in your account.

Sometimes, however, maybe when you are shopping, or when you are struggling to get the checkbook to balance, or even during those rare moments when you don't seem to have anything special to do, you disengage from those ordinary activities and reflect upon why you are doing what you are doing or what the activity you were pursuing really amounts to. You might wonder, say, whether there isn't more to life than getting up each day, sending your kids off to school, cleaning the house, buying the groceries, greeting your kids as they arrive home from school, getting dinner ready, eating, cleaning up, and putting them—and yourself—to bed. Or you might wonder whether the numbers that float before your eyes as you struggle with your bank statement are real, since they seem very different from the computer and bank statement sitting in front of you, for those two things have a physical existence in a way that pure numbers do not.

At such a moment in your life, you are engaging in philosophical reflection about your life. What makes your thinking philosophical is that it has become detached from pursuing a specific activity, like grocery shopping, and focused on the nature and meaningfulness of it. Philosophy begins where our ordinary concerns are held in abeyance. It involves reflective thinking, thinking that takes as its topic the things we normally take for granted, and assume to be comprehensible and fully intelligible.

The reflective thinking that philosophy employs is quite different from the type of thinking involved in our normal activities, even if they both are concerned with the same things. When, to continue with one of the examples I have been using, you are balancing your checkbook, you are using numbers. What you are doing with them is adding and subtracting particular numbers to see if the amount of money you think you have is the same as the amount that the bank says you do. This is an empirical question with clear right and wrong answers.

Philosophy is not like that. Philosophers also think about numbers, but when they do, they don't worry about specific empirical questions like the right number of dollars in your bank account. They reflect on general, abstract questions about numbers themselves. Like the one I mentioned earlier: Since numbers are very different from the physical objects that we encounter during our everyday activities, can we say that they are equally real?

Or consider a young person who is thinking about whether to attempt to shoplift a candy bar. If she is thinking about whether she can get away with it, she is not thinking philosophically, but only calculating the likelihood of her success, an empirical question. But if she pauses and begins to reflect on whether stealing the candy would be wrong and why, then she is engaging in a philosophical inquiry, one that can't be solved simply by gathering information.

As this example illustrates, philosophy involves the attempt to justify judgments we make, such as, “Stealing is wrong.” It involves specifying the criteria by means of which we make some fundamental distinctions that underlie many of our normal activities and judgments, such as that between right and wrong, but also true and false, real and imaginary, beautiful and ugly. Philosophers attempt to see what justification there is for making such distinctions. Sometimes they may find that there is none, and they then urge us to revise our ordinary ways of thinking and acting.

Philosophy includes very abstract theoretical questions, such as that about the nature of numbers, as well as questions that are more closely related to our everyday concerns, such as if, and why, stealing is wrong. There are philosophical questions that arise from puzzles encountered in every area of human endeavor. Philosophers, like young children, won't let go of those questions, but keep at them in hopes of coming up with an answer they and others will accept. Often times, though, those answers are not forthcoming; the best a philosopher can do is reject some inadequate ones, and that constitutes progress, too.

So even if philosophers can't tell you the right answers to all the questions that puzzle them and you, they can explain why many proposed answers are flawed. The important thing about philosophy, many philosophers believe, is the quest and not the final result.

Reading This Book

The bulk of this book consists of sixteen chapters, each of which highlights a particular picture book and a specific philosophical issue. You may read the chapters in any order, though they are arranged in a sequence. The first five chapters develop themes in metaphysics and the related fields of the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind. All three are attempts to understand the nature of reality, although they take slightly different paths to uncover its nature. Although the explicit subjects of the following four chapters are knowledge, religion, logic, and art, they are all related in that they raise questions about the way that we think about the world. The final seven chapters of the book feature issues in ethics and social and political philosophy.

So, although there is a logical progression among the chapters, I have kept them pretty independent of one another. If you have a specific interest in philosophy, I suggest that you jump to the chapter that addresses that topic.

Throughout the book you will encounter the names of important philosophers (indicated in bold type). You'll find a brief biography of each in a special section at the back of the book. There, you will also find a glossary of key philosophical terms. Although all the terms I employ are explained in the book itself, the glossary lets you find one you are puzzled by quickly and easily. And in case you are interested in investigating the philosophical issues at the heart of other picture books, I have included an annotated list of some books that I would recommend taking a look at. Finally, you'll find a section listing different options for continuing your investigation of philosophy itself.

There are text boxes scattered throughout the book. Most of these introduce the philosophical field or issue discussed in the chapter in more depth. Feel free to skip these as you are reading the chapter. I have included them for those of you who are interested in learning about philosophy in a bit more depth.

I also want to call attention to the discussion suggestions at the end of each chapter. I thought you might be interested in some guidance if you were thinking about discussing the philosophical issue or issues raised by a book with a child or a group of children. Hopefully, you'll find my suggestions useful and a child might be just the person with whom you can have a fruitful discussion about a vexing philosophical issue. Children often can get you to see an issue in a refreshing, new light.

A final caveat: As you read this book, you may find yourself disagreeing with how I interpret one of the picture books that you know well. I was actually surprised to discover how difficult it is to accurately characterize the philosophical issue or issues raised by a book. But even when you disagree with me about what I say about a book, you'll be engaging philosophically with the book, which is, after all, the goal of this book.

Enough with the preliminaries. It's time to turn the page and start reading my account of how many of our most beloved children books actually bring us face to face with features of reality that don't make obvious sense, thereby launching us on the road to thinking—and to discussing—philosophy.

Chapter 1

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On the very first right-hand page of Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon, we see Harold, a young toddler, standing with his body facing to our left but with his head turned slightly to the right. He is looking behind himself with his eyes slightly raised and wearing one of those one-piece pajamas with booties for toddlers, a fact denoted by the single brownish line with which the picture of them is drawn. His hands and head are distinguished from the pajamas by being shaded a light gray. In his right hand, Harold holds his large and, as we shall see, very special purple crayon. At this point, Harold seems to have only scribbled with this crayon on a piece of paper or, perhaps, a wall, making a large abstract drawing that we see depicted in the left-hand page of the book with a thickish purple line.

Can you get wet swimming in an imaginary ocean?

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The reason Harold's head is cocked becomes clear when we read the accompanying text, for it says that it's now evening and Harold has decided to go for a moonlit walk. Harold's head is turned because he is looking for the moon, which unfortunately is nowhere in sight. How can he go on a moonlit walk if there is no moon? Our attempt to answer this question will require us to dive right into the most abstract of philosophy fields, metaphysics.

The book's next spread provides a first indication of what's unusual about Harold's crayon. From the text, we learn that Harold not only needs the moon to take his moonlit stroll, but also a path to walk on. The images convey something more significant, for Harold uses his purple crayon to make simple line drawings of these two objects.

Drawing the very objects he needs for his walk doesn't explain how Harold will be able to embark on his excursion. After all, if you want to go on a moonlit walk, just drawing pictures of the moon and a path in the margins of this book would not suffice. You need both the real moon and a real path for your walk. But in the fictional world created by Harold and the Purple Crayon, Harold's drawings suffice for his adventures. How can this be?

As we quickly learn, Harold's crayon has the special property of making drawings whose objects become real things. Your drawing of a path is just that, a drawing. And while you can walk all over it, when you do so, you won't be walking on a path but at most on a drawing of one. Your path exists only as a drawing or, to use the more general philosophical term, a representation.

A representation of an object is a sort of stand-in for that object. It denotes or refers to the real thing, but is not itself that object. For this reason, metaphysicians going all the way back to Plato treated representations as metaphysical second-class citizens. A representation of a bed is not real in the same way that an actual bed is.

Representations come in a variety of different forms. The most prolific are images. Drawings, paintings, digital images, even sculptures are representations when they have images that denote real things. Thus, the image of the path printed on the third spread of Harold and the Purple Crayon is a representation of a real path, something that might exist in the real world.


Metaphysics

Are the path and the moon that Harold has drawn real? What about the moon you see in the night sky? Or the inhabited ones in science fiction movies? And if the inhabited movie moons aren't real, as most people believe, how can we even perceive them? These are the sorts of puzzles that delight metaphysicians.

Metaphysics was traditionally the most basic area of philosophy, for its questions had to be resolved before questions in other areas could be tackled. Only once you knew what existed, could you wonder about questions of knowledge, conduct, or any of the other issues that puzzle philosophers.

One of the chief goals of metaphysics is to establish which things among the vast riches that populate our world are really real, have “first-class” being. Consider what philosophers call “the bent stick illusion.” A straight stick like a pencil placed into a glass of water appears bent, but, once you withdraw it, it returns to its original shape. How can a stick do this?

The answer is that the stick merely appeared to bend in the water because of the difference between how water and air reflect light. The bent stick is thus placed into the category of less real things, for it is merely an appearance of the stick, which is itself fully real.

Beginning with Plato, philosophers have relegated all sorts of things to the realm of appearances, things that lack first-class reality. For Plato, everyday objects were not fully real, a theory known as idealism. The Roman philosopher-poet Lucretius' materialist viewpoint denied that minds were among the ultimate constituents of reality. Cartesian dualism (see Descartes) treats both minds and matter as equally basic, though it has the problem of explaining their interaction.

A related metaphysical distinction is between things that are real and things that are merely imaginary. While metaphysicians agree that unicorns and mermaids are less real than things that actually exist, such as the horses, fish, and people from which the elements of these imaginary things are derived, they puzzle over how things that don't exist can be thought about at all.


Of course, the image itself does exist as an object in our world just as a painting does. But the objects in Harold's drawing or in a painting are just representations, not the full-bloodied physical things that they represent.

This brief excursus into metaphysics gives us a better way to characterize Harold's world: The objects Harold draws don't only exist as representations, but acquire the first-class metaphysical citizenship that real things have. And that's why Harold is able to set off on a moonlit walk: When he makes a drawing, the objects he draws morph from mere representations into real things. So off he goes for his walk—carrying his purple crayon.

Harold's subsequent bedtime adventures all follow the same pattern. Initially, Harold is confronted by a problem, such as how to take a moonlit walk in the absence of the moon and a path on which to walk. He solves his problem by drawing a picture that contains the objects he needs, the moon and a path in this case. Because of the peculiar metaphysics of his world, these objects solve his problems when they morph from drawings into real things. But the reality of the morphed objects repeatedly confronts Harold with new problems: In this case, he does not know where he is going on the path he now stands upon. How can he keep from getting lost? So the cycle repeats itself as Harold draws his way to a new solution that presents a further problem, and so on.

One very amusing example of this pattern occurs when Harold draws a dragon. Previously, Harold had drawn a tree and worried that something would eat all the apples growing on it. Harold solves that problem with his dragon drawing. Resorting to a dragon for apple-guard-duty could only occur to a creative young child whose world is richly populated with such imaginary creatures. Harold's drawings put us in touch with his fecund imagination and are a source of enjoyment for us.

But Harold now has to face the fact that the apple-protecting dragon scares him. When Harold made his drawing of the dragon, he certainly didn't expect it to scare him. But once he sees his own creation—now morphed into a real dragon—he becomes so scared that his own shaking hand holding his beloved purple crayon inadvertently draws an ocean in which Harold almost drowns.

Harold's drawing of and subsequent encounter with a dragon illustrates the ingenuity with which Crockett Johnson, the book's author and illustrator, creates Harold's adventures. But these adventures are not merely a source of enjoyment for us as we follow their twists and turns. They also provide an entryway into the imaginary world Harold inhabits before bedtime.

Do we really enter into Harold's imagination when we see what happens with his drawings? Think about it. Harold really is in bed, trying to get to sleep. So off he goes on an imaginary journey. What's first? How about a moonlit walk? But there's no moon out and no path. No problem. All he has to do is to imagine them and himself in the sparse landscape created by his imaginings.

If this sounds plausible to you as a way of understanding the book, you'll probably also agree that the purple crayon is a very concrete stand-in for Harold's imagination. When we see Harold making a drawing with his purple crayon in an illustration by Crocker Johnson, we are witnessing the workings of Harold's imagination.

There are a number of interesting philosophical claims that the book presents about the nature of the imagination. The first is that the products of the imagination can become as real to us as the objects that we normally take to be real. Most of the time, when you imagine something—like what it would be like to have a million dollars—you are very aware that there is a difference between the reality of, say, the chair you are sitting in and the reality of those million dollars. Philosophers in the empiricist tradition, like John Locke and David Hume, attempted to characterize the difference by means of the intensity of our perception of the objects. The real objects that we perceive give us a more lively and vivacious perceptual experience than those we imagine, they held.

Harold and the Purple Crayon suggests a problem with that view. Even if we mostly imagine things with less intensity than we perceive them, that's not always the case. Harold's encounters with an ocean and a dragon appear to have the same intensity as his usual perceptual experiences. If that's right, then this thought experiment shows the inadequacy of the empiricist attempt to distinguish real things from imaginary ones on the basis of the intensity of our experience of them.

Now you might be thinking that only children experience imaginary things with that much intensity. While children might be able to take the products of their imaginations to be real things, we adults know the difference between reality and the imagination.

There are problems with this idea. Although children used to be thought of as not having a firm grasp on the distinction between real things and imaginary ones, recent research in cognitive science has shown this not to be true. Very young children know, for example, that the stuffed animal they are playing with is not real even as they conduct their imaginary play with it.

In addition, there are certain contexts in which we adults experience imaginary things as equally real. When you go to a movie, watch a play, or, even more intensely, play a computer game, your involvement sometimes becomes so complete that it seems to you that the things you are seeing (and hearing) are not merely representations but real things.

When this happens, the metaphysical distinction between real things and merely imaginary ones dissolves for you, just as it does for Harold, and it is as if things that are merely representations acquire full-blooded reality. Think about when you were watching a scary movie and found yourself scared by, say, a purely imaginary knife being plunged into what is only the image of an actor's body, not even really that of the character he is playing. Wasn't that knife real at that specific moment? (This is a topic we will discuss further in chapter 9, when we talk about the philosophy of art.)

Or think about what it's like to play a computer game. You are represented in the game world by an avatar, a computer image that stands for you. Your avatar moves through the imaginary world of the game and has to confront various obstacles that it/you must overcome. While you are absorbed in the game, you simply are your avatar and what happens to it happens to you, so the game world assumes the status of the real world for you at that moment.

Harold's world as depicted in the book is like what you experience while absorbed in watching a scary film or playing a computer game, only his entire world is created by his purple crayon. In the imaginary world of Harold and the Purple Crayon, the imaginary things he draws become real.

Although we often think of children on a sort of deficit model as lacking important skills and capacities that adults have, there are a number of ways in which children actually outstrip adults. One is the power of their imaginations. Harold and the Purple Crayon is a testament to the power of children's imaginations, their ability to give reality to things we adults can only dream about. Think of how a child talks to their favorite stuffed animal and holds it tight. When they do so, they are using their imaginations to make something real, as real as anything else in their world, something we adults normally lack the power to do.

Likewise, Harold inhabits the make-believe world created by his crayon so completely that he is able to interact with its objects. Or so Crockett Johnson's drawings—themselves drawn as if Harold had actually made them—show. When Harold is drowning in the ocean he accidentally drew, he really is immersed in it, both in Johnson's drawing and in Harold's imagination. Johnson depicts the contents of Harold's imagination so that we literally see him embedded among the objects he draws.

A somewhat different way of representing the world that children inhabit is used by Bill Watterson in his wonderful Calvin and Hobbes comics. In some strips, Watterson first draws panels that present the world that Calvin imagines, only to remove all the features due to Calvin's imagination in a later panel. What's so unique about Harold and the Purple Crayon is that we never see the world as it “really is,” but only the world as structured by Harold's imagination.

There is only one incident in which the book shows us reality and not just Harold's imaginings. Harold is ready to go home so he can sleep. To find his room, Harold draws some windows, hoping to find the window of his bedroom. But no matter how many windows he draws—he ends up drawing a small city with skyscrapers—he can't find the right one. Suddenly he remembers something that distinguishes the window of his room from all the other windows he has seen: His window is always “right around the moon.” Harold once again has the solution to his problem: he simply draws the moon inside a square that symbolizes a window, thus making that square become the window of his bedroom. Once he has encircled the moon in the square that is his window, Harold is suddenly located inside his room. This is because he has drawn the view he always sees from inside his room. So when he recreates that view with his purple crayon, Harold is transported from the world outside his house to the world inside his room.

This shows that the imagination not only has the power to depict objects that seem completely real to us, but also has the power to take us wherever we want to go. Even so, sometimes you can imagine that you are exactly where you really are.

And this is what happens to Harold in the final pages of the book. He imagines himself not only inside his room, but also actually in his bed. His final act is to draw up