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Jean Merrill

Jean Merrill (1923 - ) was born in Rochester, New York, and studied at Allegheny College and Wellesley College. She worked as an editor for Scholastic Magazines, and then for Literary Cavalcade, during which time she wrote her first children’s book. She held a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Madras in India, and studied folklore. Folklore continued to be an interest, and several of her books were based on the folklore of Asia. Amongst these was The Superlative Horse, which was adapted from a Taoist tale of 350 BC. Its illustrations were inspired by the frescos of the Tun-huang caves of Western China. The Superlative Horse won the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1963.


Jean Merrill’s best known book is The Pushcart Wars, in which city pushcart vendors refuse to be bullied by the drivers of huge trucks, and strike back.


Finding the book: easy to find; it was not published in the UK.


Links and sources

Terri A. Wear: Horse Stories, an Annotated Bibliography, Scarecrow Press, 1987

National Library of Congress

Jean Merrill: the de Grummond collection

Further biographical information




Bibliography - horse books only

The Superlative Horse

W R Scott, New York, 1961, 79 pp
Scholastic Book Services, 1961, illus Ronnie Solbert


An historical story. The Chinese ruler sends the young boy Han Kan in search of the superlative
horse, which raises no dust and leaves no tracks; this to prove that Han Kan will be a worthy
successor to the Duke’s chief groom Po Lo.