Oh Hey, Sylvia Plath Wrote a Children’s Book

As a brooding young high-schooler, you probably had a major lit-crush on one Sylvia Plath, the overwhelmingly depressed/talented poet/author behind such masterpieces as The Bell Jar and Ariel. But unbeknownst to us, Plath also had a playful side. The author wrote a children’s book titled The It-Doesn’t-Matter-Suit in 1959, shortly before she gave birth to her first child. It wasn’t published until 1996.

The charming narrative, illustrated by German artist Rotraut Susanne Berner, follows the life of “a wonderful, woolly, whiskery, brand-new, mustard-yellow It-Doesn’t-Matter Suit” as it passes between family members. The youngest in the family, Max, finally inherits the suit, and great things begin to happen for him, because nothing but fashion matters when you’re cruising through town in a fantastic yellow get-up. As Brainpickings’ Maria Popova notes, the story’s moral “reflects Plath’s own daily struggle with self-consciousness.” Maybe not so playful after all . . .

The bad news? The book is out of print, and if you can find a rare one for sale, chances are it will be pricey. Fortunately, you can read most of the story (and ogle its adorable illustrations) here.