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Aleph-Bet Books, Inc.



VALEN, NANINE McPHAIL,DAVID. THE DEVIL’S TAIL by Nanine Valen. Offered here are two of the illustrator’s dummies for this book published in 1978 by Scribner. The story itself is a strange tale based upon an old French legend about three children who bring a frozen man into their home to thaw out. Each dummy measures 7 x 8 1/2", some margin soil and stains, really VG+. Both have the text typewritten and pasted in with many corrections and changes in one of the dummies. Each also has a profusion of full and partial page pen and ink drawings by McPhail and the illustrations for both dummies are decidedly different. One is clearly earlier with less detail but more pages (61). On the cover of the other McPhail has inscribed "Best Wishes from David McPhail" with an illustration and title of The Devil’s Tale under which he wrote (Bastard title). This mock-up has 55 pages. You don’t often get to see more than one dummy for the same book. These allow you to really appreciate the process. McPhail was born in Newburyport, Mass. He has illustrated the work of others, notably Nancy Willard’s Sailing To Cythera which was one of AIGA’s 50 Books of the Year in 1974, and he has authored and illustrated a profusion of books on his own. His Captain Toad and the Motorbike was likewise included in AIGA’s 1979 show of 50 Best Books. McPhail belongs to the new breed of children’s book illustrators, along with James Marshall, Trina Schart Hyman and others – who bring a fresh originality to children’s literature. McPhail’s style ranges broadly from intricate detail reminiscent of Sendak’s and E.H. Shepard’s line illustrations to the broad strokes of William Steig. See Hornbook Illustrators of Children’s Books vol. 4 p. 4-5, 143.