Friday, June 10, 2016

Birthday Books of the Day: Two by Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak (1928-2012)
Children’s author and illustrator

Recipient, The Hans Christian Andersen Medal; the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award; the Caldecott Medal; the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal for Children’s Literature; the National Book Award; the National Medal of Arts

Maurice Sendak was one of three kids in a Jewish immigrant family largely wiped out by the Holocaust. Inspired to become an illustrator by seeing Disney’s Fantasia, Sendak drew the stories of others until the 1960s. His breakthrough came with Where The Wild Things Are (1963). He recalled one young fan’s reaction:

A little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children's letters – sometimes very hastily – but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, 'Dear Jim: I loved your card.' Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said: 'Jim loved your card so much he ate it.' That to me was one of the highest compliments I've ever received. He didn't care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.

Sendak modeled his famed monsters after relatives: “They were unkempt; their teeth were horrifying. Hair unraveling out of their noses." Notoriously spiky (of e-books, he said, "F*** them is what I say; I hate those e-books. They cannot be the future... they may well be. I will be dead, I won’t give a s***!”; of a fan, he recalled, “A woman came up to me the other day and said, ‘You’re the kiddie-book man!’ I wanted to kill her.”), it bothered him not in the least that his book, In the Night Kitchen, is among the kids' books most banned from libraries in this century.

To please his parents, Sendak never told them of his fifty-year relationship with psychoanalyst Eugene Glynn, who died in 2007.

Henry Bemis Books currently has two Sendak works in stock:

Selma Lanes, a Sendak friend and children's books' editor and author, combines a biography of the artist and a visual survey of his work in The Art of Maurice Sendak, a large, lavishly illustrated book complete with foldouts of Sendak's sketches and storyboards for his books. Harry Abrams, the art book publisher gave this volume the full treatment, which makes it a must-have for kids-at-heart and visual arts fans of every sort.

Selma G. Lanes, The Art of Maurice Sendak (1993 ed., hardcover with unclipped dust jacket, one slight tear on back edge, 278 pp., 165 black-and-white, 94 color illustrations, ISBN 0-819-8063-0, 12" x 11", very good condition). Your price: US $75.

We also have George MacDonald, The Golden Key (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1967; 2d ed., 1996; illustrations by Maurice Sendak, afterword by W. H. Auden. 85 pp. hardcover with unclipped dust jacket, Library of Congress catalog card number 67-10391. Small octavo, very good condition). Your price: US $75.

Henry Bemis Books is one man’s attempt to bring more diversity and quality to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg market of devoted readers starved for choices. Our website is at Henry Bemis Books is also happy to entertain reasonable offers on items in inventory; for pricing on this or others items, kindly private message us. Shipping is always free; local buyers are welcome to drop by and pick up their purchases at our location off Peachtree Road in Northwest Charlotte if they like.
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