Gurple and Preen – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

Looking for a fun read? One written and illustrated by the legendary pair, Linda Sue Park and Debbie Ridpath Ohi? Here you go:

Text ©️Linda Sue Park, Illustration ©️Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Oh, no! A spaceship filled with crayons and two robots has crash-landed on a barren planet!

What’s a robot to do? Well, if you’re Gurple, you panic.

Text ©️Linda Sue Park, Illustration ©️Debbie Ridpath Ohi

“Preen? Preen, where are you?”

If you’re Preen, you get busy, while your partner worries about being DOOMED.

Text ©️Linda Sue Park, Illustration ©️Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Preen starts repairing the ship, while Gurple breaks a blue crayon, spilling forth a tablecloth that she immediately discards. But Preen uses it to carry loads of crayons back to the ship.

Gurple breaks crayon after crayon, creating a covey of quail, a skateboard, a string of lights, a hockey stick, puzzle pieces, and a lampshade—all things that, in her eyes, are JUNK. She wails and fumes. But Preen sees their value and puts them to work.

Preen is a robot that makes the best of things, repairing the spaceship bit by bit. (Sounds like a tribute to Anne Lamott’s famous book about writing: Bird by Bird.) And in a rambunctious moment, there’s a spot of potty humor when Gurple breaks open a white crayon and a tangle of toilet paper spills out. She yells:

“Robots don’t go to the bathroom!”

But the clock is counting down before the space pods open.

Gurple breaks a black crayon, and out pops a panda that lands on her head.

At this point, Preen beeps, and Gurple finally notices what Preen’s been doing all along—using all of the materials created from these broken crayons to repair the ship and load the spilled crayons. Just in time!

Gurple and Preen break open the crayon pods, and as if from a long sleep, out pops a rainbow team of astronauts. When Gurple admits that Preen did most of the repair, Preen beeps, and Gurple interprets:

“She says they did it the way you do anything hard…step by step by step.”

Everyone boards the repaired vehicle, complete with a lampshade nosecone, and blasts off to the stars.

“Where to next?” Gurple asked.

The commander tapped on her computer.

“Everywhere,” she said. “The whole

galaxy, star by star by star.”

And in a final wordless spread, we see a child in bed, looking out her window at the moon and stars, surrounded by all of the toys, crayons, and creatures portrayed in her imagined otherworldly adventure. Kids will delight in treating the last spread as a “find an object from the previous pages” treasure hunt.

Three cheers for Gurple and Preen! I imagine we’ll be seeing more of them sometime down the road.

Oh, and I wanted to share a very special broken crayon drawing that’s headed for right above my writing desk.


Make you own broken crayon art.

Pair this book with The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Make your own origami robots.

Title: Gurple and Preen

Author: Linda Sue Park

Illustrator: Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2020

Themes: crayon, space, robots, adventure, persistence

Ages: Pre-k – 3rd grade

For more perfect picture books, please visit Susanna Hill’s blog.

9 thoughts on “Gurple and Preen – Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

  1. Patricia Tilton says:

    This sounds hilarious! Great way to introduce kids to space and to robots involved in a mission. Love how the two Gurple and Preen are so opposite, making for a lot of interesting moments. Thanks for sharing! I’m sure there will be another book coming. Great artwork!

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