As a kid, I remember reading the classics. The fairy tales, tales of adventure, the usual. Oddly enough, I skipped a lot of "kids" books, I was always looking for the older material.
In doing so, I missed some books, some books that should never have been missed. God bless my girl and her child-like heart. She bought "Harold and the Purple Crayon" for her niece. I read it today, and I was blown away.
It's a straightforward concept, a four-year-old boy who has the ability to create his own little world with his purple crayon. And create he does.
What's great about the story is that at no time does the character ever betray himself. He's a four-year-old, and sure enough, he acts like one. You feel part of Harold's world as he creates it. You want to go where he goes, and you want it to be over when he does.
The genius of Crockett Johnson's book is in its simplicity. He conveys so much, all with just a purple crayon. And it's in that minimalistic setting that the story grows leaps and bounds, just like a four-year-old would if you gave him a crayon and the world as his canvas.
If you never read the book, do your childhood a favor, and go read it. Then go read it to a kid.