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Maurice Sendak [Biography] [Autobiographical Sketch] - "the Picasso of children's books"

"Where the Wild Things Are" Poster

Pincus and the Pig PINCUS & THE PIG: A KLEZMER TALE

Jewish humor hits new heights in "Pincus and the Pig" (Tzadik Records), a klezmer version of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, with a new text written and narrated by Maurice Sendak and a newly orchestrated score performed by the Shirim Klezmer Orchestra.

"Did you hear of Boychick Pincus, how he opened wide the gate and hippety-hopped over the sweet warm meadow?" So begins "Pincus and the Pig" resonating with humor, mysterious subtexts, and aural slapstick that will appeal to all generations. (October 2004)
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Package includes CD, full color booklet, original drawings and removable stickers!

The Art of Maurice Sendak

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THE ART OF MAURICE SENDAK
by Selma G. Lanes

A masterpiece coffee table book. Full color illustrations as well as vintage black and whites (along with original sketches).

Nutcracker by Maurice Sendak NUTCRACKER by E. T. A. Hoffmann, Ralph Manheim (Translator), Maurice Sendak (Illustrator)

Listen to NPR Interview, gallery of Nutcracker illustrations and excerpts.

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IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN - "A Picture Book From The Direct Middle of Me"

Sendak had begun a Mother Goose collection in 1969 and while doing so noticed that they all had to do with eating. He had collected rhymes about bakeries and cooking pots and stews which was becoming a cookbook rather than a Mother Goose type book. And so, he cooked up "In the Night Kitchen."
Early Sequences of "In The Night Kitchen"

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CHICKEN SOUP WITH RICE- A Book of Months - A forward and backward counting rhyme and the months of the year.

"I told you once
I told you twice
all seasons of the year are nice
for eating chicken soup with rice !"

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Now a classic in children's stories, Where The Wild Things Are" was a metamorphosis when written in the sixties. With all of the original criticism surrounding this book, once again it proved that children react creatively to great works. Sendak, "children are not always escaping from the mundane,"....but from the horrific - from all kinds of strong, frightening feelings they have; they don't really mind a little anxiety and heart failure, so long as they know it will end all right."

Sendak was pleased when he learned that the book was very successful with autistic children. A child who had never spoken asked to have the book after hearing it read. And on another occasion, Sendak received a letter from an 8 year old asking, "How much does it cost to get to where the wild things are? If it is not expensive, my sister and I would like to spend the summer there."

A book that reminds us as adults about fear and the Wild Things. Read it and laugh hilariously with your child. A wonderful reminder that we, even as adults, are never too old to conquer our fears. Extra-ordinary book of wide eyed mismatched, colorful, large scarey looking monsters that just don't scare us and of course ......run on sentences Sendak style.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE

This is an excerpt from Sendak's Caldecott acceptance speech:

"Max, the hero of my book, discharges his anger against his mother, and returns to the real world sleepy, hungry, and at peace with himself.

Certainly we want to protect our children from new and painful experiences that are beyond their emotional comprehension and that intensify anxiety; and to a point we can prevent premature exposure to such experiences. That is obvious. But what is just as obvious --and what is too often overlooked-- is the fact that from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, that fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, that they continually cope with frustration as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things.

It is my involvement with this inescapable fact of childhood--the awful vulnerability of children and their struggle to make themselves King of all Wild Things--that gives my work whatever truth and passion it may have."

HIGGLETY PIGGLETY POP: OR,THERE MUST BE MORE TO LIFE

Rereleased June 2001

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HIGGLETY PIGGLETY POP: OR,THERE MUST BE MORE TO LIFE

Higglety Pigglety Pop is the longest book Sendak wrote. It is a memorial to his dog, Jennie, "his best friend" who died in 1967. Jennie appeared in several of Sendak's books and was the dog on the receiving end of Max's anger and wild behavior in "Where The Wild Things Are".

The story finds Jennie with everything that a dog .....seemingly.....could ask for and yet she says, "I find myself discontented". In other words, there must be more to life and so she sets out to find it. What Jennie finds is "more" !

Sketches of Jennie from Higglety Pigglety Pop and a real picture of Jennie.
Kenny's Window

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KENNY'S WINDOW
Pen and Ink 1956

Sendak wrote and illustrated "Kenny's Window" when he was 27. Prompted by reading a clinical study of a disturbed child, Kenny became Sendak's first hero.

Written over forty years ago, "Kenny's Window" may have an even more powerful meaning today as children look for heroes and adults look for themselves.

Kenny awakens from a dream in which a four legged rooster poses seven questions. If answered correctly, he can live in a magic garden. Here are a few of my favorite questions:

"Can you fix a broken promise?"
"What looks inside and what looks outside?"

"Do you always want what you think you want?"

Kenny embarks on a journey to find the answers. Although he answers all seven questions correctly, he found there was more satisfaction in the search than the quest for the magic garden.

This is a powerful book. The message is a reminder to parents that there is fantasy and reality throughout our lives and children do this naturally. We can walk through our fears. It is o.k. to dream. We, as parents, may have forgotten this along life's way.

"Do you always want what you think you want?" Do we?

Hector Protector and As I Went Over the Water : Two Nursery Rhymes
November 1, 2001
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Maurice Sendak's interpretation of these Mother Goose rhymes is short on verse and tall and animated in illustration and imagination.

For lovers of Sendak's illustrations, this is a must.

Outside Over There
1981
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She went backwards out her window
Into Outside-Over-There....
-- Maurice Sendak

Outside Over There explores children's very primal fears. It is, on the surface, a wonderful tale of a changeling rescued by music, however, it goes far deeper and becomes more meaningful with each reading. Sendak's Ida steps into a strange dreamworld to recover her baby sister, taken in the night by goblins. Children and adults alike will take great pleasure in the main character's strength and in Sendak's compelling and beautiful, almost haunting illustrations.

Pierre : A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and Prologue
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PIERRE: A CAUTIONARY TALE IN FIVE CHAPTERS AND A PROLOGUE

This is about attitude... those "I don't care!" days and changing that attitude into "does care."

Listen to the soundtrack "Really Rosie" (1975 Television Special) for the lyrics of "Pierre."

More Rereleased Titles Illustrated by Sendak
I'll Be You and You Be Me
by Ruth Krauss
I'll Be You and You Be Me
First published in 1954

A collection of odd rhymes and short stories on the theme of love and friendship. The small, delicate pen and ink drawings are delightful.
Rereleased June 2001
Ages 4-8
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How Little Lori Visited Times Square
by Amos Vogel
How Little Lori Visited Times Square
First published in 1963

"One day Lori said to himself: 'I want to see Times Square'" and he ends up taking an unintentional tour of New York City.
Warning mentioned in book:
"This is a very funny book and should not be read while drinking orange juice, or you will spill it!"
Rereleased June 2001
Ages 4-8
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What Can You Do With a Shoe?

"What can you do...with a shoe?..."
"What can you do with...a chair?..."
"What can you do with...a hat?..."

This book is pure fun and Sendak's playful watercolors paint the possibilities.
This is a great read-a-loud book.
Rereleased June 2001
Ages 2-6
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A Hole Is To Dig

A HOLE IS TO DIG: A First Book of First Definitions
by Ruth Krauss, Maurice Sendak, Illustrator
First Published in 1952

What would you say about eye-brows?
"Eyebrows are to go over eyes.

" A face?
"A face is something to have on the front of your head."

Ages Baby-PreK
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For a few other notable books that Sendak has illustrated, see Classic Section, Randall Jarrell; and Meindert DeJong in Newbery Section. (early illustrations)