FIRST EDITION OF HAROLD AT THE NORTH POLE
JOHNSON, Crockett. Harold at the North Pole. A Christmas Journey With the Purple Crayon. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1958. 12mo, original half black cloth, pictorial paper boards, original dust jacket. $1500.
First edition of the scarce fourth book in Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon series.
Harold and his trusty purple crayon help Santa Claus and his eight reindeer on Christmas Eve. Johnson, whose real name was David Johnson Leisk, was "first recognized in 1942 for his syndicated newspaper comic strip, 'Barnaby,' which gained national acclaim when the strip's characters, five-year-old Barnaby and his imaginary Fairy Godfather, Mr. O'Malley, appeared in the tabloid PM… Johnson made his picture-book debut in 1945 when he illustrated The Carrot Seed, written by his wife, Ruth Krauss, a respected author of children's books for the very young… Johnson alone wrote and illustrated the enormously successful Harold and the 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, 355). Ink price stamp to price-clipped dust jacket, suggesting that this particular copy failed to sell and was re-priced to the early edition price of $1.75.
Book fine, price-clipped dust jacket with light wear and soiling. A near-fine copy.