October 25, 2006

Gertrude Stein's Children's Book: The World Is Round

I'm starting to sense a conspiracy of silence here. Gertrude Stein, of all people, did a children's book, too, in 1939, at the suggestion of Margaret Wise Brown, of all people. Do I even need to tell you who did the illustrations? None other than Mister Hey-who-ganked-my-blunts? himself, Clement Hurd.

The story of The World Is Round concerns a girl named Rose [of "is a rose is a" fame] who wonders who she'd be if her name wasn't Rose. I can't find any images of the inside of the book, or any more extensive accounts of the story, but there are quite a few trade editions from both 1939 and 1988 are available on abebooks for not very much at all.

gertrude_stein_world_round.jpgBut if that weren't enough, the book also came in a limited edition of 350 gold, cloth, and slipcase copies which were signed by both Stein and Hurd. They've become rather expensive collectible objects which have probably never seen a drool-soaked hand in all their 67 years. At $2K a pop, will your kid be the first? I hope not.

But there's more: in 1986, Hurd's widow collaborated on a new limited edition, this one of 400 copies, which included her companion book, The World Is Not Flat, a memoir of the Stein-Hurd collaboration and correspondence. Oh, and there's a balloon printed with "The World Is Round." [?]

Search for Gertrude Stein's The World Is Round, $1 to $2,200 [abebooks]
Arion Press published the Round/Not Flat edition and has 1988 trade editions for $35. [arionpress.com]
McLean Books has a copy of the Round/Not Flat "in mint (and uninflated) condition" for $850 [mcleanbooks]

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