New York: William Morrow and Company, 1982. Zelinsky, Paul O. First Edition. Hardcover. First printing, octavo size, 160 pp., signed by Beverly Cleary. Near fine / near fine. Item #16052316
Renowned children's book author Beverly Cleary (b. 1916) presents a delightful story of a talking mouse, Ralph S. Mouse, who had also appeared in two of her previous books, "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" and "Runaway Ralph". An acclaimed and successful writer, Cleary has won both the National Book Award and the Newbery Medal, as well as the National Medal of Arts in 2003 (among many other awards); she is perhaps best known for her characters Henry Huggins and Ribsy - but with many more which have delighted both children and adults for decades.
This first edition of Cleary's book is illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky (b. 1953), a prolific illustrator of children's books who received the Caldecott Medal in 1998 for his retelling of "Rapunzel". Major influences on him while a young boy were the stories and illustrations of William Pène du Bois (especially "The Twenty-One Balloons"), and Robert Lawson.
___DESCRIPTION: Quarter blue cloth with light teal paper boards, gilt lettering on the spine, frontispiece a black-and-white illustration of the title character by Paul O. Zelinsky, black-and-white illustrations by Zelinsky throughout; octavo size (8.25" by 5.75"), pagination: [1-10] 11-160, signed by Beverly Cleary in blue ink on the half-title page. In a paper dust jacket with colour illustration wrapping around the front panel and spine, white, black, and yellow lettering on the front panel, white and black lettering on the spine, a list of other books by the author on the rear panel, a description of the book on the front flap, and a description of two books by the author on the rear flap; the dust jacket is unclipped with the original price of $8.50 on the front flap.
___CONDITION: Volume could almost be called fine, with clean boards, straight corners with no rubbing, a strong, square text block with solid hinges, and the interior is clear and bright; spine is slightly cocked, some dustiness to the top edge of the text block, and a prior owner name written in pencil on the front free endpaper, else fine. The dust jacket is near fine, unclipped, clean with bright colours, the spine showing no evidence of sunning; light wear to the head and tail of the spine and corners, light toning to the top edge, and a small (quarter-inch) tear to the bottom of the front panel. Overall a lovely example of one of Cleary's best-loved characters, signed by this incredible children's author.
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