Modern Masters for Children

By January 22, 2011January 24th, 2011Uncategorized

Following my recent post about Twentieth Century adult authors who wrote for kids, I found this old book on our shelf. It’s by Shirley Jackson (best known for her brutally creepy short story, “The Lottery”) and is one of series published in the 1960s under the imprint “Modern Masters for Children”. I really love her sentences. They combine fancifulness with matter-of-factness in a way that feels true. Here is the opening: “Today was a very funny day. The sky was green and the sun was blue and all the trees were flying balloons. A magician came walking down my street. His coat was long and black and there were stars on his hat.”

Lorraine Fox apparently worked as a successful illustrator for all the major women’s magazines in the mid-1950s. Her style—a combination of naive painting and idealized realism—is very robust and often seems to flow off the edge of the page.

Among the other titles in the Modern Masters series: “Jane’s Blanket” by Arthur Miller, “The Best New Thing” by Isaac Asimov, and “The Big Green Book” by Robert Graves (illustrated by Maurice Sendak!) I’ve tracked down a second-hand copy of the latter and hope to show it to you in the near future.