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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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Provocateur and Philosopher

Provocateur and Philosopher

(p.208) 22 Provocateur and Philosopher
Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss

Philip Nel

University Press of Mississippi

In 1963, Ruth Krauss published one of her most important poems, “This Breast,” in the Wagner Literary Magazine. That same year, A Beautiful Day, the first of Krauss’s poem plays, made it to the stage at New York’s Pocket Theater. Crockett Johnson and Krauss soon got irritated by what they perceived to be Harper’s indifference toward reprinting Is This You? January 1964 started out auspiciously for the couple. Johnson was contemplating some new children’s books, and Krauss was looking forward to the production of some of her plays in the spring. They also got into a dispute with the popular children’s television show Captain Kangaroo for broadcasting readings of their books without payment. In early April, doctors discovered that Krauss had spinal meningitis and ordered a spinal tap. Due to her illness, Krauss missed the debut of her four new plays at the Hardware Poets Playhouse. That year also saw Krauss’s debut as an illustrator of children’s books with an adaptation of her story, “The Little Queen”.

Keywords:   plays, Crockett Johnson, Ruth Krauss, poems, Harper, Is This You?, children’s books, Captain Kangaroo, Hardware Poets Playhouse, The Little Queen

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