Friday, May 2, 2008

Pishtosh, Bullwash & Wimple

Pishtosh, Bullwash & Wimple, published in 1972 (back cover above), was Flora's 12th children's book, and first for Atheneum. His first eleven were published by Harcourt Brace, under legendary kid-lit editor Margaret McElderry. In 1971, after a quarter-century with the company, McElderry was remaindered by Harcourt. According to Publisher's Weekly:
After editing many Newbery and Caldecott Medal and Honor winners (including the Newbery and Caldecott Medals together, in 1952), McElderry was asked to take early retirement, a request that stunned her. "When I asked why, I was told that the wave of the future had passed me by," she says. "That was the exact wording, and it was a real slap in the face."

Obviously, many others thought otherwise, as McElderry soon received job offers from 12 publishers. The winner was Atheneum, where she launched her own line of books. In her words, "My imprint was given to me as an honor, and it was, since it was the first children's book imprint to have a person's name attached to it."

One of the authors she lured from Harcourt was Flora, who wrote and illustrated six books for McElderry's new imprint.

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