THE FIRST BOOK I EVER read from cover to cover was Crockett Johnson’s 1955 work, Harold and the Purple Crayon. If you’re not familiar with it, it goes like this: A small boy in one-piece pajamas draws with, well, purple crayon, on an endless expanse of whitespace. His drawings don’t exactly come to life, but they do become interactively real (to him, anyway). The drawings are accompanied by spare but informative narration, but the real story is amply told by the charming illustrations. In all, Reb Crockett wrote seven Harold adventures; they are aimed at young would-be readers, and sort of obviate the whole Dick and Jane thing so popular when I was a tyke. Unlike D&J, the Harold books are written in grown-up language, using complete (if simple) sentences. HatPC begins with a drawing of Harold and his absent-minded doodling, captioned thus:
One evening, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight.