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Mr. Pine's Purple House 50th Anniversary Edition Review by Michelle Gibson

Leonard Kessler
Purple House Press
PO Box 787
Cynthiana, KY 41031

Mr. Pine rhymes with Vine and that’s the street he lives on in a row of little white houses. If Mr. Pine’s house was the only white house in the line of 50 white houses on Vine Street, he would’ve been happy.

“A White House is fine,” said Mr. Pine, “but there are 50 white houses all in a line on Vine Street. How can you tell which one is mine?”

Equipped with brushes, rollers, ladders and plenty of purple paint, Mr. Pine sets out to solve his problem in a colorful way. Of course, we know he paints his house purple by the title of this classic which was first published in 1965, but that wasn’t the first thing Mr. Pine tried to make his house stand out from the other 49.

At the beginning of the book, we meet the real Mr. Pine. In fact, the similarities between Mr. Kessler and Mr. Pine make the book even more fun. They both were glasses; they both had a dog and a cat; they both love to wear hats; Mr. Pine paints signs and houses and so did Mr. Kessler. Best of all, his first house was purple! Not to mention his license plate reads “Mr. Pine.” This endears me all the more to this book along with the fact that Mr. Kessler wrote and illustrated Mr. Pine’s Purple House.

After we Meet Mr. Pine, we read an introduction to the book. Mr. Kessler wrote this book to show children that reading is a delightful experience. Indeed, this book is fun and easy to read. Mr. Kessler encourages you to read the story aloud to your child at first, so I did. I read the book to Boaz, my seven-year-old, and then had him read it to his dad. Of course, my other kids who are 11 and 13 wanted to read it too.

Children young and old will enjoy this book. If your child is reading all by himself he will have the “immediate joy of reading" because the words are easy to read and the sentences are short and full of repetition and rhyme. The onomatopoeia throughout made it fun to read, too. While the cover is a bit more colorful, the black, white, and purple pen and ink illustrations inside bring out Mr. Pine's problem-solving creativity.

Considering this book is all about the color purple, it was fun to see characters such as Mr. Gold who lives next-door to Mr. Pine, Mrs. Green who also lives next-door to Mr. Pine, and Mrs. Brown who also lives in the neighborhood.

Themes in the book include embracing individuality, creativity, and problem-solving. We also talked about wanting what your neighbor has and what the Bible says about that.

What are my children's favorite parts?

Bo says he loves all of it.

Malachi, who is 13, says, "My favorite part is either when he has a purple nose after he falls off the ladder, or at the end where everyone says his purple house is pretty and they want their house painted purple too, and he says, 'OH, NO! NO! NO!" Mr. Pine chose the wildest color so people wouldn't copy him, but everyone liked his purple house! Thankfully for Mr. Pine, they each paint their house a different color." He added that it would be fun to see all the houses painted at the end, but some things are better left to the imagination, right?

With black and white illustrations and splashes of purple color throughout, this 64-page hardcover book is a delight from cover to cover. Written for ages 3-8, Mr. Pine’s Purple House is sure to please any child young or old with its sing-song rhyme and whimsical illustrations.

Priced at $16.95, this isn’t the only book that Mr. Pine stars in. Along with Mr. Pine’s Purple House, Leonard Kessler also wrote Mr. Pine’s Mixed-Up Signs, Mrs. Pine Takes a Trip, and many other children’s books.


-Product review by Michelle Gibson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2018