"'Listen!' It was Jimmy Skunk speaking. He had just met Peter Rabbit halfway down the Crooked Little Path just where the moonlight was brightest. But he did not need to tell Peter to listen. Peter was listening – listening with all his might. Just then it came again, a sound such as neither Peter Rabbit nor Jimmy Skunk had ever heard before."
Thornton W. Burgess originally wrote the chapters that would become "The Adventures of Old Man Coyote" for newspaper serialization. They appeared in newspapers June 10th through July 9th, 1913. There were 26 daily installments, Sundays excluded.
When they were published as a book over three years later, in September 1916, three chapters were removed, probably due to space constraints. This edition is the first time those deleted chapters have been in front of readers since Americans opened their newspapers in the summer of 1913.
The 3 deleted chapters follow the animals’ increasing fear about the mysterious noises, Prickly Porky as he works himself into a fury over an insult, and Granny Fox as she realizes with growing anxiety that she is no longer the slyest predator around.
"Away ran Granny Fox, and after her ran Bowser the Hound, and all the little meadow and forest people heard his great voice and were glad that he was not after them. But Granny Fox was not worried. You see, she had fooled him so many times that she knew she could do it again. So she kept just a little way ahead of him and gradually led him toward the place where Old Man Coyote took his sun nap every day."
Thornton W. Burgess was immensely popular in the 1910s and 1920s, and remained very popular for generations afterward. It isn’t just that his stories are very entertaining. Burgess was also a very knowledgeable naturalist, and almost every chapter describes real wild animal behavior. His books are as educational as they are entertaining.
But wait, there’s more. Burgess’ books also gently convey wonderful little moral and practical lessons. Children love those lessons because of the delightful way the stories are told. If you find that hard to believe, just try reading this book to a child.
"'Good evening, Brother Fox.'
Reddy Fox whirled about. His heart seemed to come right up in his throat. It was too late to run, for there was Old Man Coyote right in front of him."
It’s a common misconception that since Burgess wrote for children, he was read only by and to children. Not so. His daily newspaper stories were also routinely read by adults for their own pleasure.
This edition has two chapters for parents and other grownups, which detail:
· The restoration of the lost material for this edition, and:
· The history of Burgess' Bedtime Stories.
This edition has 67 illustrations:
· The 6 full-page illustrations made by Harrison Cady for the original 1916 Little, Brown edition.
· The 14 full-page illustrations made by Harrison Cady for the Grosset & Dunlap edition.
· The 16 Harrison Cady spot illustrations used for the Grosset & Dunlap editions.
· 3 additional Harrison Cady spot illustrations, one for each of the 3 restored chapters.
· 25 illustrations by an anonymous artist that appeared with the original newspaper serialization installments in 1913.
· The color illustration from the front cover of the 1916 Little, Brown dust jacket, the illustration from the front cloth board of the same edition, and the illustration of the beautiful endpapers of the Grosset & Dunlap edition.
This restored edition of "The Adventures of Old Man Coyote" is by far the most illustrated edition ever.
Also includes two bonus chapters:
-- Burgess' very first Bedtime Story, "Billy Mink Loses a Race", along with its original illustration, which appeared in newspapers Feb. 5th, 1912. This story has never before been published in book form.
-- A sample restored chapter from the forthcoming "The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver: With 10 Lost Chapters Restored". Never before published in book form.
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