In this Book

summary

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.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 3-8
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  1. 1. Ruth Krauss’s Charmed Childhood
  2. pp. 9-15
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  1. 2. Becoming Crockett Johnson
  2. pp. 16-24
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  1. 3. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman
  2. pp. 25-31
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  1. 4. Punching the Clock and Turning Left
  2. pp. 32-37
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  1. 5. First Draft
  2. pp. 38-42
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  1. 6. Crockett and the Red Crayon
  2. pp. 43-50
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  1. 7. “We Met, and That Was It!”
  2. pp. 51-60
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  1. 8. Barnaby
  2. pp. 61-67
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  1. 9. A Good Man and His Good Wife
  2. pp. 68-80
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  1. 10. The Athens of South Norwalk
  2. pp. 81-90
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  1. 11. Art and Politics
  2. pp. 91-98
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  1. 12. At Home with Ruth and Dave
  2. pp. 99-107
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  1. 13. The Big World and the Little House
  2. pp. 108-118
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  1. 14. Artists Are to Watch
  2. pp. 119-131
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  1. 15. The Art of Collaboration
  2. pp. 132-144
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  1. 16. Harold
  2. pp. 145-152
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  1. 17. Striking Out into New Areas of Experimentation
  2. pp. 153-162
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  1. 18. New Adventures on Page and Screen
  2. pp. 163-170
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  1. 19. “Hitting on All 24 Cylinders”
  2. pp. 171-182
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  1. 20. Poet in the News, Cartoonist on TV
  2. pp. 183-195
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  1. 21. Lorca Variations and Harold’s ABC
  2. pp. 196-207
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  1. 22. Provocateur and Philosopher
  2. pp. 208-218
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  1. 23. Painting, Passports, and Protest
  2. pp. 219-230
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  1. 24. Theorems in Color, Poems on Stage
  2. pp. 231-243
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  1. 25. “You’re Only as Old as Other People Think You Are”
  2. pp. 244-254
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  1. 26. What Would Harold Do?
  2. pp. 255-257
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  1. 27. Life after Dave
  2. pp. 258-268
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  1. 28. Children Are to Love
  2. pp. 269-273
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  1. Epilogue
  2. pp. 274-275
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 276-302
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 303-340
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. 341-345
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 346-367
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Additional Information

ISBN
9781621030645
Print ISBN
9781617036361
MARC Record
OCLC
815838591
Pages
368
Launched on MUSE
2012-12-20
Language
English
Open Access
N
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