A favorite childhood book of mine was Mr. Pine’s Purple House. Although I remember quite a few childhood books fondly, this is one that I think still speaks to me today. The gist of the story was that Mr. Pine lived amongst a group of houses that all looked alike. He wanted his home to be different, mainly so he could find it amidst the sea of uniformity. And he went through several attempts, each copied by his neighbors before painting his house purple. His neighbors painted their homes too but in a sea of different colors, Mr. Pine’s was the only purple house.
It was a happy ending that encouraged individuality. Not only was it okay to be different, it was good. It’s a moral that many of us who were children in the 60’s and 70’s enjoyed then, and I think many of us could stand to read the book again.
I, at least, have tended towards the thought that the endless American suburbia we see today is a relatively recent trend. But it’s not so, as Mr. Pine’s Purple House was first published in 1965! The cookie cutter houses may have gotten a lot larger in recent decades but they have been a part of our landscape for awhile.
It wasn’t so long ago that a co-worker and I both excitedly discussed this book. I still have my copy from childhood. She was attempting to find a copy to replace her long lost one. How lucky we are the book was re-released for it’s 40th anniversary. So, if you can’t find your vintage copy or just want to get one as a gift for a youngster in your life, the book is available.
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