Helen Gaskill Simons, 90, of Blue Bell, a retired children's book editor, died of heart failure May 2 at Mercy Suburban Hospital in Norristown.

For more than 40 years, until retiring in the 1980s, Mrs. Simons worked for the former John C. Winston Co., a publisher in Philadelphia. Her love of children's literature began when she was growing up in Glenside, said her niece, Connie Schofer. Mrs. Simons' mother, Edith Gaskill, was a friend of noted author and illustrator Marguerite de Angeli, and Mrs. Simons and her brother H. Raymond were models for de Angeli's book Ted and Nina Have a Happy Rainy Day.

Mrs. Simons graduated from Cheltenham High School and Beaver College, now Arcadia University. She taught second grade in Delaware for five years.

In 1945 she married Thomas H. Simons. The couple enjoyed traveling, especially cruises on the Mississippi Queen, a paddlewheel steamboat. They were longtime vacationers in Ocean City, N.J.

She collected antique dolls and donated several to the Ocean City Historical Museum. She was a member of Resurrection Community Church in Wyncote.

Mrs. Simons is survived by 11 nieces and nephews. Her husband died in 2002.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. May 27 at Normandy Farms Estates, 900 Twin Silo Drive, Blue Bell, where Mrs. Simons lived for 20 years.