cover image BEARS


Ruth Krauss, , illus. by Maurice Sendak. . HarperCollins/di Capua, $14.95 (24pp) ISBN 978-0-06-027994-3

Let the wild rumpus continue, Max seems to say, in Sendak's illustrations of Krauss's 1948 text—the hero's first appearance since the 1964 Caldecott Medal– winning Where the Wild Things Are . And a joyful fete it is. On the half-title page, a vignette of a yellow floppy-eared dog gazing adoringly at Max appears next to a spot illustration of a Teddy bear, dangling from a rope by its neck (echoes of the opening to Wild Things ). When the boy rescues the stuffed bear and takes it to bed with him—leaving his pet on the floor—the pooch kidnaps the bear and, for the next nine spreads, hides the Teddy in a sea of giant ursine limbs. "Bears/ Bears/ Bears/ Bears/ Bears," opens the text, which spans just over two dozen words. Nothing in the text suggests the visual drama that unfolds, yet thanks to Sendak's canny mix of insight and playfulness, Max, his pup and Teddy bear appear completely at home in this furry wonderland. The dog darts between ursine legs "on the stairs" on one spread, and hides behind a shower curtain while the giant bears are "washing hairs" in another. Sendak fans will recognize the palm tree setting against a cornflower-blue sky for the bears "giving stares" (i.e., Max tames the wild things with "the magic trick/ of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once"). The pursuit continues past a parade of bejewelled furry "million aires" in top hats, berets and boas, where Max reclaims his toy. Just when the dog fears banishment again, Max welcomes his beloved pooch back into bed. The tale speaks to new siblings and dejected friends, but for Krauss and Sendak aficionados (the duo's decade-long collaboration began with A Hole Is to Dig —see Children's Books), this is an occasion for celebration. All ages. (June)