"THE CRAYON IS AS MUCH A CHARACTER AS HAROLD": FIRST EDITIONS OF THE FIRST FIVE HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON BOOKS
JOHNSON, Crockett. Harold and the Purple Crayon. WITH: Harold's Fairy Tale. WITH: Harold's Trip to the Sky. WITH: Harold at the North Pole. WITH: Harold's Circus. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1955-59. Together, five volumes. 12mo, original half cloth [Harold's Fairy Tale in full brown library cloth], pictorial paper boards, original dust jackets. $11,500.
First editions of the first five books of Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon series, including the very scarce first book, in original dust jackets.
American author and illustrator Crockett Johnson was "a cartoonist whose simplest, sparest, and boldest outlines produced unforgettable, gently humorous, and always endearing caricatures in the world of American children's picture books. His natural gift for drawing and writing from a young child's viewpoint enabled him to craft more than twenty juvenile books," (Silvey, 355) including the most popular among them, Harold and the Purple Crayon. This enormously successful book recounts the nighttime adventures of Harold, who creates his dreams as he draws them with his trusty purple crayon. "With the fewest of lines, Johnson depicts Harold as a toddler clad in sleepers, his chubby hand gripping a fat plum-colored crayon. From page to page, the thick, firm, purple mark delineates Harold's actions against the stark white background so effectively and ingeniously that the crayon is as much a character as Harold. The same economy that informs Johnson's art permeates his text; he writes so concisely of Harold's moonlight stroll that his style perfectly echoes the clarity of his boldly outlined cartoon illustrations" (Silvey). Harold's Fairy Tale is the library issue of the first edition, bound in sturdier full buckram, with "Library Edition" stamped on dust jacket front panel. Fairy Tale, Trip to the Sky, and North Pole dust jackets each with one corner of the front flap price-clipped, almost certainly by the publisher, to leave the higher library price of $2.00 visible on the lower corner of Fairy Tale and the lower trade price of $1.50 visible on the upper corners of Trip to the Sky and North Pole.
Books fine to near-fine, dust jackets extremely good to near-fine. A lovely set.