June 29, 2010

Wait, Ruth Krauss And Ad Reinhardt??

krauss_reinhardt_alephbet.jpg

Ruth Krauss we know, because with a carefully crafted minimum of words, she wrote a ton of children's books, including The Carrot Seed, which was illustrated by her husband Crockett Johnson. And because the Krauss-Johnsons basically adopted a teen Maurice Sendak and helped him get his start. [Krauss collaborated with Sendak on one of his first children's books, A Hole Is To Dig, in 1952.]

And Ad Reinhardt we know because he was a dogged advocate for abstract painting since the '40s, and because he later basically declared his all-black square paintings to be the end of painting, you can all go home now.

But what's this I hear from Stopping Off Place, that Krauss's first children's book, A Good Man and His Good Wife, published in 1944, was also Reinhardt's first [and only children's book?

Reinhardt was working full time as a cartoonist for PM Magazine and had just illustrated Columbia anthropologist Ruth Benedict's Army training pamphlet, Races of Mankind. Which got embroiled in controversy when Southern senators learned it contained data showing that Northern blacks scored as well as Southern whites on intelligence tests. Also a picture of Adam with a navel. The Greatest Generation.

Anyway, as is often the case with first books, there just weren't that many to begin with. And that goes double for first books published during wartime. The only mention of a copy I could find was from an old catalogue at the children's book dealer Alephbet. And even that one came from Krauss's neighbor. How can this book not be in print?

1 Comment

I have this book! and cannot find another one anywhere, or even the mention of another person who has one! Please if anyone has any info, reply! Thanks, Lisa Mills- California

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