“We have captured a most rare specimen of an extinct insect which was extremely popular at the beginning of the century.”

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This second installment of my Soviet-era children’s book series features George Kovenchuk‘s 1974 illustrations for Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky.

You can read a thorough summary of the famous 1929 play — not originally intended for children! — at SovLit. (And here are some fascinating images from the first staging.) The title of this post quotes from Max Hayward’s translation of the play (see The Bedbug and Selected Poetry).

I used a virtual Cyrillic keyboard to figure out the illustrator’s name. Because this important bit of information was hidden in the book, I had to type about fifty words before finding it — and so I basically learned the Cyrillic alphabet in the process. Good times.

Previously: Mummy was a robot, daddy was a small nonstick kitchen utensil

01 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974
(detail of 2-page spread)

02 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

03 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

04 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

05 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

06 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

07 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974
(detail of 2-page spread)

08 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

09 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

10 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

11 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

12 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

13 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

14 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974

15 Klop (The Bedbug) by Mayakovsky, illus. George Kovenchuk, 1974


Will Schofield is the editor of 50 Watts (original name: A Journey Round My Skull) and Writers No One Reads. More from this author →