Synopses & Reviews
Magic Beach, the first new book in forty years from the creator of Harold and the Purple Crayon, is the story of a boy and girl who discover the power of words on an enchanted beach. Published in celebration of the centennial of Crockett Johnsons' birth, Magic Beach includes an appreciation by Maurice Sendak, to whom Crockett Johnson was a mentor and friend, and an afterword by Philip Nel, who found the original drawings in the archives of the Smithsonian Institution.
"The publication of Johnson's (Harold and the Purple Crayon) deceptively simple story marks the debut appearance of this work in precisely the way Johnson conceived of it. (A version was published in 1965 as Castles in the Sand with illustrations by Betty Fraser.) Nel discovered the original dummy while researching a biography of the author. The ingenious book design plays up the feel of an artist's sketchbook, and the spare pencil sketches (with even the artist's erasures in evidence) on a beige background give readers the feeling of peering over the artist's shoulder. The drawings introduce young Ann and Ben, outlined in the expressive line that Harold fans will recognize immediately. The children have only to write a word in the sand and the item appears before them, making an intriguing play on the notion of spelling and spells. Musing that such things only happen in 'stories about magical kingdoms,' the pair proceeds to create just that, conjuring up a king, farms, castles and a horse, on which the monarch rides off to his kingdom, just as the tide rushes in. Maurice Sendak, a close friend of Johnson and his wife, Ruth Krauss, contributes an insightful 'appreciation,' and the afterword quotes a letter from Johnson describing the tale's debt to the Fisher King. Like all great stories, this one stretches well beyond the pages. All ages. (Nov.) " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
* "Like all great stories, this one stretches well beyond the pages." --Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[A] sly reflection on the power of words and the line between real and imaginary worlds. . . . The deceptively simple story has undeniable child appeal." --School Library Journal
"Bracketed by two insightful, informative gems for Johnson fans, a two-page 'appreciation' by Maurice Sendak and a four-page afterword on the book’s history by Phillip Nel, this handsome book is clearly aimed at adults as much as children. But whoever the audience, there is magic to be found in the words and sketches of Crockett Johnson." --Booklist
About the Author
Crockett Johnson (1906-1975) began his artistic career as a political cartoonist. He then became a comic strip artist, creating the comic strip Who (1952), Johnson wrote and illustrated over 20 books for children, providing illustrations (but not the story) for seven more (beginning with This Rich World in 1943 and The Carrot Seed in 1945). Harold, the protagonist of his best known series, began his many journeys in Harold and the Purple Crayon (1955), which was followed by Harold (1956), Harold (1957), Harold at the North Pole (1958), Harold (1959), A Picture for Harold(1960), and Harold (1963).