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Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an…
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Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love,…

by Philip Nel

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Well-documented story of two author/illustrators who influenced many children's illustrators. Perfect reading for any fan of children's literature. Add to that J.Edgar Hoover's concern that mild Crockett Johnson was an active Communist and you've got quite a story. ( )
  brangwinn | Nov 1, 2012 |
Behind A Hole is To Dig and Harold And the Purple Crayon were the vibrant Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson. While their best-known published collaboration was The Carrot Seed, how many of us knew that they were husband-and-wife, a team that also collaborated on a rich partnership of sailing, socializing, activism, and world travel? That, for nearly a decade, they nurtured then-novice illustrator Maurice Sendak, with Krauss negotiating the advance that led to Sendak being able to move into full-time illustration? That Krauss wrote avant-garde poetry and Johnson (born David Leisk) became so adept at mathematical formulas that he was published in academic journals? Whether you are a fan of the capacity and trajectory of people in general or a children's lit fan in specific, this scholarly work affectionately yet firmly traces the couple's lives against a backdrop of politics and publishing at large. Highly recommended. (121) ( )
  activelearning | May 19, 2012 |
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Crockett Johnson (born David Johnson Leisk, 1906-1975) and Ruth Krauss (1901-1993) were a husband-and-wife team that created such popular children's books as "The Carrot Seed and How to Make an Earthquake." Separately, Johnson created the enduring children's classic "Harold and the Purple Crayon" and the groundbreaking comic strip "Barnaby." Krauss wrote over a dozen children's books illustrated by others, and pioneered the use of spontaneous, loose-tongued kids in children's literature. Together, Johnson and Krauss's style--whimsical writing, clear and minimalist drawing, and a child's point-of-view--is among the most revered and influential in children's literature and cartooning, inspiring the work of Maurice Sendak, Charles M. Schulz, Chris Van Allsburg, and Jon Scieszka.

This critical biography examines their lives and careers, including their separate achievements when not collaborating. Using correspondence, sketches, contemporary newspaper and magazine accounts, archived and personal interviews, author Philip Nel draws a compelling portrait of a couple whose output encompassed children's literature, comics, graphic design, and the fine arts. Their mentorship of now-famous illustrator Maurice Sendak ("Where the Wild Things Are") is examined at length, as is the couple's appeal to adult contemporaries such as Duke Ellington and Dorothy Parker. Defiantly leftist in an era of McCarthyism and Cold War paranoia, Johnson and Krauss risked collaborations that often contained subtly rendered liberal themes. Indeed, they were under FBI surveillance for years. Their legacy of considerable success invites readers to dream and to imagine, drawing paths that take them anywhere they want to go.
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Crockett Johnson (born David Johnson Leisk, 1906-1975) and Ruth Krauss (1901-1993) were a husband-and-wife team that created such popular children's books as The Carrot Seed and How to Make an Earthquake. Separately, Johnson created the enduring children's classic Harold and the Purple Crayon and the groundbreaking comic strip Barnaby. Krauss wrote over a dozen children's books illustrated by others, and pioneered the use of spontaneous, loose-tongued kids in children's literature. Together, Johnson and Krauss's style--whimsical writing, clear and minimalist drawing, and a child's point-of-vie.… (more)

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