"A lark with a firm superstructure in fact" (Bader)
THE MAN IN THE MANHOLE
By Margaret Wise Brown and Edith Hurd (as Juniper Sage)
First edition of this rare Margaret Wise Brown pseudonymous title, inscribed by illustrator Bill Ballantine, who he gave up his career to join the circus in 1947.
THE MAN IN THE MANHOLE
"Her mind was always searching for new ways to engage children through books, and fortunately for her, Bill [Scott] was bold enough to try most anything she dreamed up." – Amy Gary
Publisher William R. Scott was a small business owned by a couple who lived on a farm in Vermont; they used their barn as their book warehouse. Brown became their editor and principal writer in 1938. Despite receiving payments and royalties below the industry standard, Brown worked with them for years because she believed in their innovative approach to creative education books – which are now highly sought by collectors. This book shows what "fix-it men" do underneath the streets and in the air, with jolly illustrations by Ballantine. The same year this book was published, Ballatine traveled on assignment with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. The next year, he quit publishing and literally ran away to the circus, becoming a professional clown.
Read more: Bader, American Picturebooks, 391; Gary, In the Great Green Room: The Brilliant and Bold Life of Margaret Wise Brown; Nevil, "Obituaries: Bill Ballantine" in The Independent, 22 May 1999.
New York: William R. Scott, 1946. 9.5'' x 7.75''. Original orange pictorial boards. Illustrated in color by Ballantine.  pages. Inscribed by Ballantine on verso of title page: "For J. Dugan / who is always there / Bill Ballantine." A bit of soiling and a few marginal closed tears to leaves. Corners worn; chipping with loss to spine, carefully repaired.
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