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The Little River

Publication type

Fine Press



Book Size

24 x 31 cm, 26 leaves

Edition Size

60 copies




Judges’ Choice Award and Parrot Prize (for best illustrated book printed in the past two years), UK Fine Press Book Fair in Oxford England, November 2015.

Marking its first foray into children’s literature and an entirely pictorially conceived work, in 2013 Two Ponds Press ushered Margaret Wise Brown’s previously unpublished story, The Little River, into the world. The whimsical and technically accomplished illustrations and book design of Michael Kuch in company with rich contextual addenda propels the work from an exciting previously unknown story by Brown into the realm of so much more.

Pivotal in the development of children’s literature in the twentieth century with the enduring classics Good Night Moon and Runaway Bunny, Margaret Wise Brown (1910-1952) composed The Little River in 1950. The manuscript—scrawled by Brown on monogrammed notepaper—was gifted to Liv Rockefeller, and charmed by its lyrical verse, Two Ponds Press initiated this project in honor of the hundredth anniversary of Brown’s birth.

Michael Kuch created the etchings and paste-paper images, printed the copperplates, and designed the book with oversight from Rockefeller and Ken Shure. Kuch, an artist working across a multitude of media, was a self-taught artist from a young age and began working with Leonard Baskin at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts; he founded Double Elephant Press in 1994.

The white and various hued papers were made by hand for the project by Katie MacGregor of Whiting, Maine. The primary type used in the book is Will Ransom’s only typeface Parsons, designed between 1918-1940. The type was cast Micah Currier at Dale Guild Type Foundry in Township, New Jersey. Russell Maret drew the fleuron and title lettering, based on a Ransom design. The ancillary text was set in Eric Gill’s Joanna types by Michael Bixler. The letterpress was achieved on a Vandercook Universal IV by Arthur Larson.

Accompanying the book is a full-color facsimile of The Little River manuscript in Brown’s hand, enclosed in a cover designed by Kuch that riffs on the manuscript form layout. The Little River Field Notes, a booklet also designed by Kuch, includes an essay by Rockefeller outlining her family connection to Brown—these two pieces, together with a fully realized book, provide so much context for understanding the dissemination of text through time and the complexities of book production.

The box and binding were executed by Sarah Creighton at her bindery in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Creighton trained as a hand bookbinder, serving apprenticeships with David Bourbeau and Arno Werner. She worked for Gray Parrot as an edition binder and then studied with Hugo Peller at the Centro del bel Libro in Ascona, Switzerland; Creighton established her bindery in 1982.

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