I was first introduced to Johnny Gruelle as a child through the many Raggedy Ann and Andy Series of books that came out in the 60’s. I received 2 or 3 books once a month, and I couldn’t wait to read all the adventures the pair would have, as well as the mischief they would get into.
My mother would read these to my sister and I at bedtime, and I loved the stories of fairies and rag dolls and the lessons of goodness and kindness. I think these stories really made a child “want” to be good-I know it made me want to be!
The illustrations were either very colorful or straight black and white. Either way, Gruelle was very good at what he did. I know he influenced how I illustrate today. I have many sketches from my teen years, of fairies with pointed toes, and flowing, silken scarves, floating about in woods and on flowery hillsides, to prove it.
I still have all 12 books today and I would never part from them. Although they are a little tattered and the pages are a slight yellow hue now, they are worth more than gold to me. Not only because of the memories they hold, but also because of the lessons they taught.
I wish there were more author/illustrators like Johnny Gruelle today. Now that would be….
…what’s the word….yes, that would be “awesome”!