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Celebrating Illustration, Design, Cartoon and Comic Art of the Mid-20th Century

The Art of Beth and Joe Krush

Monday, September 23, 2013


If you live in North America and have ever read The Borrowers (or any of the four books in the series that followed)...

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... then you are already familiar with the art of Beth and Joe Krush.

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Mary Norton's The Borrowers told the story of a family of tiny people who live secretly in the walls and floors of an English house and "borrow" from the big people in order to survive.

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Diana Stanley was the original illustrator when the book was first published in England in 1952, but when Harcourt Brace released a North American edition the following year, Beth and Joe Krush were chosen to provide the cover and interior art.

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Between 1953 and 1982, the Krushs illustrated all five Borrowers books. Yet after nearly 30 years of being so closely associated with Mary Norton's creations, they never met the author - and spoke with her only once - on the phone.

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In a 1988 interview with Philadelphia Inquirer staff writer Sara Solovitch, Beth Krush said, "We got a letter from her once in which she said that she liked our drawings but she thought they were really a little too fancy for what Homily would have had the facility or material to make."

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"I wish she had told us that before," continued Beth. "We would have been glad to change it."

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Whatever reservations Norton may have had, it's fair to say that the Krush's charming, detailed drawings can be at least partly credited with the success of the books in North America.

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While The Borrowers is likely the most famous of Beth and Joe Krush's artistic accomplishments, it represents only the tiniest example of this talented couple's life's work.

This week; a look at the careers and the art of Beth and Joe Krush.

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