“Roger and the Devil” by Marian Parry

My son found this at a used bookstore and bought it because Marian Parry illustrated the wonderful Space Child’s Mother Goose, of which we own a tattered, precious copy dated 1963. 

Parry both wrote and illustrated Roger and the Devil. The protagonist is based on a three year old boy Parry met in Cagnes, France. He’s described by the old fashioned word “rascal”. Roger is a bratty little trickster who has most of the adults in his small, isolated town entirely cowed. They give in to his demands (for food or coins) or face annoying pranks. But the Devil turns up, elegantly dressed and suave, attempting to buy souls. He wants Roger’s soul. Roger responds with caution, and eventually scams the Devil himself, to the great advantage of the community. 

Marian Parry flies WAY under the radar. I couldn’t find her in Wikipedia or Legacy.com. She was born in 1924, but I can’t find a date of death. She was an author, poet, illustrator, watercolor artist and teacher of art, French and dramatics. The Boston Public Library, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Smith College hold extensive collections of her works. I found a work of hers for sale dated July, 2014. 

What makes Marian Parry’s artwork so striking? It is whimsical! It’s detailed. It’s wonderfully expressive. I’m reminded of Tove Janssen’s fanciful Moomintroll books and comic strips. I guessing Roger and the Devil was meant as a children’s book, but adults will enjoy it.

We also have copies of Parry’s Exercises in Perspective and Birds of Aristophanes. 

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