A Tuesday Ten: A Splash of Purple
Posted by Stephanie Whelan
And the colors continue! Today we are looking at ten in speculative fiction that feature shades of purple. Purple is often a color associated with either magic, or royalty or both. It’s not as easy to find in abundance in many of the books I read, but I did manage to find ten for my list!
The Ultra Violets: The Fuchsia is Now by Sophie Bell, illustrated by Chris Battle (Razorbill, c2013)
The Ultra Violets series is literally soaked in this color. There’s plenty of bad purple puns and mysterious purple goo that gives the four girls superpowers. Our four friends have to deal with ordinary life while also figuring out their extraordinary powers. The text itself is actually in purple, so I’d say this wins for most purple inclusion in a single book (not to mention an entire series).
The Violet Keystone by Garth Nix (Scholastic, c2001)
The final book in The Seventh Tower series. Tal is the main protagonist in a series that features seven towers–with the colors of the rainbow as magical ranks within the society. Whomsoever possesses the violet keystone will be the ruler of all. One of the few middle grade/tween series I found where the magic was color coded.
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (Bloomsbury, c1955)
How could I make a purple list and not include this particular classic? Harold makes his entire world with the help of a singular purple crayon. The power of drawing and imagination at work make this an incredible book to share with kids. Harold creates his world as he journeys through it, finally figuring out how to bring himself back home again. After reading this as a kid, I yearned for my own magical crayon.
The Ordinary Princess by M. M. Kaye (Puffin Books, c1980)
Sadly the most recent editions of this book do not have this gorgeous image of our main character on the cover. In fact the current cover is pretty dreadful, especially for such a marvelous book. Princess Amethyst is the seventh princess born to her parents, and instead of being gorgeous and lovely . . . she’s ordinary. So ordinary that she’s known as Princess Amy instead of her full name. Purple is part of her name (the gemstone amethyst) and she’s also dressed up in it here on the cover. Two of the other covers feature her in purple as well. Amy also uses the wisteria vines outside her window to climb down–those are vines full of purple flowers come the early summer.
The Purple Prince of Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson, illustrated by John R. Neill (Del Rey, c1932)
Yep, the Oz books make the list again, although this one wasn’t penned by Baum himself. And you’ll find it’s not really considered one of the Oz canon by many fans. However in this book our protagonist (young Randy) is of to save the kingdom of Pumperdink from an evil fairy. Along the way he’ll discover his true identity (hint: it’s pretty obvious from the title).
The Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce (Knopf Books, c1986)
This is book four of the Song of the Lioness Quartet . I could have picked any book in the quartet and any cover, but this is one of my favorites, and it nicely shows off Alanna’s violet eyes. I’m forgetting whether the Dominion Jewel was also purple, like it’s portrayed here, though it might have been. Not only are Alanna’s eyes purple, but her magic is purple in color (in this world of magic, different individuals tend to have magic of different colors). Likewise Alanna’s goddess-sent cat, Pounce has purple eyes.
Lavender-Green Magic by Andre Norton (Starscape, c1975)
A time travel fantasy with witches that I haven’t read, but remain curious about. The title seems to refer to the herbs used in the magic pillow that gives our young heroine dreams, as well as reference to the song “Lavender’s Blue”. We’ve clearly got some lavender featured on the cover, so I’m inclined to think it’s bound up in the magic that entangles our young siblings.
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd (Scholastic, 2014)
This small-town where little magics live in the margins is a sweet story of redemption and healing. I’m including it here because on of the main little magics is an ice-cream flavor called Blackberry Sunrise. It’s a flavor that summons up memories of the past for the taster–sometimes happy, sometimes sad. If memory serves, this signature flavor is purple in color, therefore fitting my color list for today.
Magyk by Angie Sage (HarperCollins, c2005)
This is the first book in the Septimus Heap series following the life and adventures of a seventh son of a seventh son who is taken to be trained in magic. Purple is significant as a marker of authority in the book–Marcia Overstrand, the arch-wizard is dressed in purple, down to her shoes which are made from special purple snakeskin.
Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic, c2003)
Gregor is an ordinary NYC kid until he gets sucked into a vent in the basement of his building (in order to rescue his sister). He finds himself in the Underland, where giant bats, rats and cockroaches exist. People live here too. All the human denizens of this world have pale hair and violet eyes, hence it’s inclusion on the list. I think this is the only large group of people I’ve found in a book with this eye color, otherwise it tends to be treated as pretty rare.
So there’s my ten! Can you add any more titles to the list?
About Stephanie WhelanI'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.
Posted on May 19, 2015, in General Posts, Lists and tagged Authors, Books, Children's Books, Children's Literature, fantasy, kidlit, Lists, literature, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction, Multicultural, Picture Books, Reading, reviews, Science Fiction, series, Superheroes, Tamora Pierce. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.