Thursday, February 3, 2011

Ruth Krauss favorites

The first time I remember seeing this book was as an adult and it caught my eye because the boy on the cover so closely resembled the boy from my beloved The Little Fish That Got Away. There's a very good reason for that! It turns out that Crockett Johnson illustrated both books. Not only that, but he was married to Ruth Krauss, the author of The Carrot Seed, which is one of the longest published children's book. This lovely classic has been in print continuously since 1945!

Once I fell in love with the boy character similarity, I realized the text of the book is amazingly similar in style to the fishing book as well. I really like that simple repetitious text of many early children's books. It makes for a great first reading book.

The artwork is quite lovely in it's simplicity as well. I think you can really concentrate on the important points when you aren't bombarded by thousands of pictorial details on a single page. (Not that those books don't have their place too, as evidenced by Finn's love of Findus and Pettson.)

Another one of my favorite Ruth Krauss books is The Backward Day. Most children seem to love to see the ordinary turned extraordinary and having an entirely backward day is certainly extraordinary!

Finn giggles with glee when we get to the page where the boy puts his underwear on over his clothes. Oh, the humor of it all!

The illustration in this book is classic 1950s from the tablecloth to the hairstyles to the narrow variety of color. I love it! I also think it's very special to see the family of this little boy participate in his backward day and not just stare oddly at him. How refreshing for little readers to think they can mix up life and have their family joyously participate.

And "when backward day is done, backward day is done." And everyone just goes about their business like it's an ordinary day after all.


  1. She also wrote a great little book called "I can fly" - my girls loved that book.

  2. We love Ruth Krauss (and husband Crockett Johnson, even though he can only illustrate one boy). They've done a few books together. It amazes me that even though she's passed on, she still had a book published last year (And I Love You, illustrated by Steven Kellogg)

    We've got her book, "The Happy Day" in our basket right now...watching for the first sign of spring!