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Crockett Johnson and Ruth KraussHow an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children's Literature$
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Philip Nel

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617036248

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617036248.001.0001

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The Big World and the Little House

The Big World and the Little House

(p.108) 13 The Big World and the Little House
Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss

Philip Nel

University Press of Mississippi

On July 20, 1948, twelve Communist Party leaders, at least one of whom Crockett Johnson personally knew, were indicted by a federal grand jury under the Smith Act (the Alien and Registration Act of 1940). The Smith Act was President Harry S. Truman’s response to Republican accusations that Democrats were being soft on communism. Although Johnson supported the bid of Henry Wallace, his comic strip Barnaby offered no direct commentary on the presidential candidates in the 1948 elections, won by Truman. In the wake of the Progressives’ defeat at the polls, Barnaby focused on lighter subjects. Meanwhile, Ruth Krauss’s career received a major boost when her book Bears won praise from reviewers. Late in 1948, Krauss was commissioned by Henry Schuman to write a socially conscious children’s book, which turned out to be The Big World and the Little House, published in 1949. Publishers were once again looking favorably at Krauss’s ideas for children’s books. While reviews of The Big World and the Little House were mixed, Krauss had a creative breakthrough with The Bundle Book.

Keywords:   children’s books, Communist Party, Crockett Johnson, Smith Act, Harry S. Truman, Barnaby, Ruth Krauss, Henry Schuman, The Big World and the Little House, The Bundle Book

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