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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 Art of Collaboration

The Art of Collaboration

(p.132) 15 The Art of Collaboration
Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss

Philip Nel

University Press of Mississippi

In the 1950s, Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss, as well as their friends and neighbors in Rowayton, Connecticut, were monitored by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their alleged ties to communists. Some, including Rockwell Kent and Joe Freeman, testified before Senator Joseph R. McCarthy’s Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. After the end of his comic strip Barnaby, Johnson tried to avoid the political spotlight and instead pondered his future. Even after the publication of Who’s Upside Down?, he had not made up his mind on whether to pursue writing children’s books. Meanwhile, Krauss’s collaboration with Maurice Sendak, A Very Special House, published in November 1953, received favorable reception from both reviewers and readers. Krauss and Sendak also began working on their next project, I’ll Be You and You Be Me, even as Krauss continued to work on other books, including two illustrated by her husband, How to Make an Earthquake (1954) and Is This You? (1955). Johnson also began writing a children’s book about a boy and his crayon, one that would firmly establish him as a leading author of children’s books.

Keywords:   children’s books, Crockett Johnson, Ruth Krauss, Rowayton, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Barnaby, Maurice Sendak, A Very Special House, How to Make an Earthquake, Is This You?

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