Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Digtal (for Digital)

Archaeologists dig things and so do beatniks. We all dig different things, but some things are more diggable than others. In 1952, children's author Ruth Krauss put it plainly with her now classic A Hole Is to Dig: A First Book of First Definitions: "What is a hole? A hole is when you step in it you go down. A hole is for a mouse to live in. And, of course, a hole is to dig..." A hip cat named Maurice Sendak drew the pictures for this one, you dig? (Along with Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff in 1947, The Wonderful Farm by Marcel Aymé in 1951, and Good Shabbos, Everybody! by Robert Garvey in 1951, this was among Sendak's very first books as an illustrator. He wrote his first one, Kenny's Window, in 1956.) Sendak thought highly of Krauss, calling her "a giant" in the world of children's literature. "Prior to the commercialization of children's books," he said, "there was Ruth Krauss." The two of them collaborated on nine books for children (A Very Special House won the Caldecott Award in 1954). Krauss also produced four books with her illustrator husband, Crockett Johnson, most notably The Carrot Seed in 1945. We dug up nine cases of today's typo in OhioLINK and 75 in WorldCat.

(A Hole Is to Dig, by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak.)

Carol Reid

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