The Boobus and the Bunnyduck | by Michael McClure | Jess

The Boobus and the Bunnyduck | by Michael McClure | Jess


A children’s story by Michael McClure
Illustrated and hand-lettered by Jess
Accompanying essay by Christopher Wagstaff and Andrew Hoyem

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The Boobus and the Bunnyduck is a full-scale, full-color facsimile of the original unique artist book made by Jess Collins in 1957.

Poet Michael McClure wrote the story for his daughter Jane, nicknamed “Boobus”. In the 1950s the McClures were friends of Jess and his partner Robert Duncan, visiting them frequently after their return from Mallorca and Black Mountain College. It is likely that Michael showed them his children’s story in 1956 or 1957; Jess proceeded to illustrate it using ink and colored wax crayons. Crayons, usually thought of as art materials for children, were favored by Jess and Robert for the drawings they often made as after-dinner entertainment.  

Of special note are the endpapers, entitled “Humble Jumble”. For these, Jess uses a style that departs from the book’s crayon “paintings” and deft ink drawings. Here he depicts a cluttered work table, outlining common objects in perspective and filling them with thin, pale tones that resemble watercolor washes. The effect is that of a puzzle-picture designed to teach children the shapes and names of things. Subtly evoking Duchamp and Magritte, the still life is surrounded by a golden thread woven in a Celtic strap-work pattern.

Production Details 

  • Edition of 100 numbered copies for sale

  • Accordion, 13-3/4 by 10-1/2 inches, 32 panels

  • Printed by an Epson 4000 inkjet printer on Moab Entrada paper

  • Bound in purple cloth with inset images, housed in a box with an accompanying booklet

  • Arion Press publication #80, 2007

 Read the full prospectus here.