Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979. 1st Edition. Oblong quarto, publisher's oatmeal cloth, spine gilt, upper board blindstamped, dark charcoal endpapers, original illustrated dust jacket.
"I am attracted to the idea of seeding the imagination by leaving a little something untold." First edition of two-time Caldecott Medal-winner Chris Van Allsburg’s earliest children’s book. The Odyssean narrative of separation and return follows the young protagonist Alan Mitz as he is haplessly led into the garden of the frightening magician Abdul Gasazi by a "bad mannered" dog named Fritz. Since the book’s publication in 1979, Van Allsburg has gone on to make a substantial impact on the world of children’s book writing and illustration with his now-iconic two-tone illustrations—lack of color is highly unconventional for children’s books—and unparalleled ability to imbue the ordinary with the extraordinary, demonstrated by the unbridled success of his subsequent books including The Polar Express (1985) and Jumanji (1995). The book also marks the first appearance of the whimsical bull terrier Fritz whom Van Allsburg would go on to feature in every one of his future books in a variety of forms. Enchantingly illustrated in black-and-white. First printing, with complete number row to copyright page. Light soiling and edgewear to unclipped dust jacket. Near fine. Item #3951