First edition of Pène du Bois's notoriously scarce first book, about the ghost of a cow who is a little too sweet to scare people.
Fine in very good jacket.
ELISABETH THE COW GHOST
"I am the ghost of the fiercest cow that ever existed. I shall haunt you and scare you day and night."
Earliest version of this tale of the afterlife of the gentlest cow, sold to the publisher when du Bois was only 19 and a student at the Carnegie School of Technical Architecture; seizing the opportunity of this early success, he left school and never went back. In 1964, du Bois rewrote the text of this first edition and re-drew the illustrations for a new publication of the engagingly tragic tale; the exceedingly hard-to-find original shows starker scenes in black and white, with a haunting, floating Elisabeth the Cow the only subject in color: a fetching buttercup yellow. The Cow's trouble, familiar to many frustrated young children, lies in her inability to terrify a grown man; this is due to her gentle nature and frankly adorable physique, the former of which cannot be camouflaged by any fearful disguise. Almost impossible to find, this is an outstanding copy of a "neat, tight little book" filled with "pure storytelling" (Bader).
Read more: Bader, American Picturebooks, pp. 175-6, 182.
New York: Thomas Nelson, 1936. 6'' x 6''. Original yellow cloth stamped in blue. In original unclipped ($.75) black and yellow pictorial dust jacket. Illustrated by Pène du Bois with yellow title page and 21 full-page images, a number with the cow ghost highlighted in yellow. 48 pages. Jacket slightly worn, with a couple closed tears and chipping to head of spine.
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