Margaret Bloy Graham, a picture-book illustrator best known for “Harry the Dirty Dog,” a cautionary ablutionary tale from 1956 that remains a staple of childhood, died on Jan. 22 in Belmont, Mass. She was 94.
Her death was confirmed by Doris Hagen, a longtime friend.
With text by Gene Zion, Ms. Graham’s husband at the time, “Harry the Dirty Dog” is aimed at 3-to-6-year-olds. It tells the story of a white dog so averse to baths that he buries his scrub brush in the backyard and lights out for grimy territory, playing in a construction site, sliding down a coal chute and so on.
The trouble with Harry, once he comes home, is that he has become blackly unrecognizable to his own family. At long last, he disinters the brush and submits to a bath, and order is restored. Reviewers praised both Mr. Zion’s text and Ms. Graham’s illustrations, which, like all her work, were notable for their whimsy and delicacy.
HarperCollins Publishers released a 50th-anniversary edition of the book in 2006.
Ms. Graham and Mr. Zion, who married in 1948, also collaborated on three Harry sequels: “No Roses for Harry” (1958), “Harry and the Lady Next Door” (1960) and “Harry by the Sea” (1965). Their marriage ended in divorce in the late 1960s, and their creative partnership ended with it.
The couple’s non-Harry collaborations include “Really Spring,” named a best illustrated book of 1956 by The New York Times Book Review, and “All Falling Down” (1951), a Caldecott Honor Book, as the runners-up for the Caldecott Medal, presented annually by the American Library Association to the best illustrated book of the year, are known.
Ms. Graham had a second Caldecott Honor Book the next year: “The Storm Book” (1952), written by Charlotte Zolotow.
The daughter of Malcolm Graham and the former Florence Bloy, Ms. Graham was born in Toronto on Nov. 2, 1920. She began studying art as a child; after earning a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of Toronto, she started her career as a commercial artist in New York.
Her second marriage, to Oliver Wendell Holmes (no relation to the former Supreme Court justice, Ms. Hagen said), also ended in divorce. No immediate family members survive.
Ms. Graham also illustrated “The Pack Rat’s Day: And Other Poems” (1974), by Jack Prelutsky; “What If?” (1987), by Else Holmelund Minarik; and a series she wrote herself about a dog name Benjy, beginning in 1971 with “Benjy and the Barking Bird.”