New York: Coward-McCann, 1928. Signed Limited. MILLIONS OF CATS
Published by Coward-McCann, New York, 1928
Wood-Engraving Signed by the Artist-Author
The Limited Edition of Millions of Cats Containing an original wood-engraving signed by the artist-author, is limited to two hundred and fifty copies, THIS IS COPY NUMBER 210.
This copy is quite incredible such a normally fragile children’s book, and just 8 years shy of its centennial publication, yet this copy still has its wood-engraving, plastic dustjacket as issued and apart from the pictures I took it appears to have never been opened, the slip case is complete with some mild chipping but completely unrestored, and now housed in a beautiful red Morocco clamshell box with leather on-lay and blind tooled images of cats taken from the artists images in the book. An incredible piece of American literary history.
Millions of Cats is a picture book written and illustrated by Wanda Gág in 1928. The book won a Newbery Honor award in 1929, one of the few picture books to do so. Millions of Cats is the oldest American picture book still in print.
The man wants to bring home the most beautiful of all the cats, but he is unable to decide. Each seems lovely, so he walks back home with all of the cats following him. His wife is dismayed when he arrives, realizing immediately what her husband overlooked: they will not be able to feed and care for billions and trillions of cats. The wife suggests letting the cats decide which one should stay with them, asking "Which one of you is the prettiest?" This question incites an enormous cat fight, frightening the old man and woman, who run back into the house. Soon, all is quiet outside. When they venture out, there is no sign of the cats: they had apparently eaten each other up in their jealous fury. Then, the old man notices one skinny cat hiding in a patch of tall grass. It had survived because it did not consider itself pretty, so the other cats hadn't attacked it. The couple take the cat into their home, feed it and bathe it, watching it grow sleek and beautiful as the days pass: exactly the kind of cat they wanted.
Wanda Gag pioneered the double-page spread in this book. Writer and reviewer Anita Silvey explained, "She used both pages to move the story forward, putting them together with art that sweeps across the entire page spread: her favorite illustration fell in the center of the book - with the old man carrying cats against the rolling hills.
March 11, 1893–June 27, 1946) was an American artist, author, translator, and illustrator. She is best known for writing and illustrating the children's book Millions of Cats, the oldest American picture book still in print. Gág was also a noted printmaker, receiving international recognition and awards. Growing Pains, excerpts from the diaries of her teen and young adult years, received widespread critical acclaim. Some of her books have been awarded Newbery Honors and Caldecott Honors. In 1927 Gág's illustrated story Bunny's Easter Egg was published in John Martin's Book magazine for children. Gág's work caught the attention of Ernestine Evans, director of Coward-McCann's children's book division. Evans was delighted to learn that Gág had children's stories and illustrations in her folio and asked her to submit her own story with illustrations. The result, Millions of Cats, had been developed from a story that Gág had written to entertain the children of friends. It was published in 1928. Very Fine. Item #238
Price (USD): $6,500.00