VERY RARE FIRST EDITION OF JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, INSCRIBED BY THE ILLUSTRATOR
(BURKERT, Nancy Eckholm, illustrator) DAHL, Roald. James and the Giant Peach. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, (1961). Large octavo, original red cloth, original dust jacket. $5500.
Scarce first edition of Dahl’s “little classic,” with beautiful illustrations (many full-page and in color) by Nancy Ekholm Burkert, inscribed by her, “To all the dear Spencers and Ollmanns, large and small! Nancy Ekholm Burkert.”
“In 1953 Dahl married the actress Patricia Neal; they had three children, to whom he began to tell bedtime stories. James and the Giant Peach, the first of these to reach print, is a comic fantasy about a small boy who travels the world inside a huge peach, in company with several giant insects. Like most of Dahl’s children’s books, it first appeared in print” in the United States (Carpenter & Prichard, 139). When editor Virginie Fowler first read the work, she wrote to the author, “If this doesn’t become a little classic, I can only say that I think you will not have been dealt with justly” (Treglown, 134). “When Tim Burton approached Roald Dahl’s widow about his plan to make a film of James and the Giant Peach, she asked him why he wanted to do it. Burton’s answer clinched the deal: ‘It’s the only book that ever gave me any hope when I was a child” (D is for Dahl, 68). First edition, with H. Wolff credited as binder in the colophon. Inscribed by illustrator Nancy Eckholm Burkert. “Burkert works in a tradition of artists for whom book illustration is one of the fine arts like painting or sculpture… Her drawings are not a secondary accompaniment to words, but a primary and integral part of the book experience in which she is an equal partner with the writer” (Michael Danoff). James and the Giant Peach was her first illustrated children’s book. Ink numeral “12” to rear flap of dust jacket.
Price-clipped dust jacket lightly rubbed with minor loss to spine foot. Book fine. A near-fine copy of an elusive first edition, inscribed by the illustrator.