I still remember the books Simone chose. We read them so many times for our own pleasure, and then to our younger siblings, that I can still recite lines from them. Dr. Seuss (The Cat in the Hat; Green Eggs and Ham; Fox in Socks; Hop on Pop). P.D. Eastman (Are You My Mother?). Stan Berenstain (Inside, Outside, Upside Down). Maurice Sendak (Chicken Soup With Rice). Ruth Krauss (The Carrot Seed). And Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon.
To someone who hasn't seen what the right book can do for a child, these titles may seem too babyish to be consequential. To someone who is learning to read, they are magic.
I recently got out a copy of Harold and the Purple Crayon from the library and was delighted to find it every bit as wonderful as I remembered. It was first published in 1955. The art is deceptively simple. The story is of a small child who adventures into his own art creations. Harold's vast imagination and quick wits are an inspiration. Read it and enjoy it and share it with children as young as two years old.