When you like an author, you want to love everything they write. However, Linda Sue Park and Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s newest picture book, Gurple and Preen: A Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure crumbled a tad. While I adore the illustrations of Ohi, the story Park presented was only so-so for me. But kids who like to draw and grand imaginations will appreciate it.
The story is simple, a couple of characters, called Gurple and Preen, need to prepare a spaceship for the crew. But several issues occur, making things less that smooth. This causes Gurple to be less than happy and worries they will not get the job done. But with a little ingenuity from Preen and some fun surprises that come out of some broken crayons, the day is saved. There is simple text and not a lot is going on, but the artwork makes up for that. The art is bold, bright and pops off the page. They are creative, have surprises in every corner and are fun to read. The mix of drawing and real images gives it a modern and quirky feeling. And the surprise at the end I should have seen coming, but didn’t, therefore, I just got a chuckle out of that. Both text and illustrations complement each other, but also can be separate.
The idea that broken crayons can do amazing things is what caught my eye. Ohi does several images on her Facebook and Twitter accounts showing what can “come out” of a broken crayon. Sometimes a tree “grows” up and out of the two pieces, or the pieces are used as a prop in the image. This creativity can inspire your child by using your own broken crayons to make something neat.