cover image Bumble-Ardy


Maurice Sendak. HarperCollins/di Capua, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-205198-1

Sendak plays to his multigenerational audience in his first solo escapade since 1981's Outside Over There (unless one counts Jack and Guy's nursery rhyme interpretation from 1993). Based on an early Sesame Street animated short created by Sendak and Jim Henson, this new Bumble-Ardy is a piglet. For eight years, the little hog's birthdays have been overlooked: "But when Bumble was eight/ (Oh, pig-knuckled fate!)/ His immediate family gorged and gained weight./ And got ate." On this eight/ate pun, with mischievous rhymes on nine to follow, Bumble is adopted by his Aunt Adeline. She leaves "the house at one past nine" on his birthday, never suspecting that Bumble has invited a vaudevillian riot of hogs to celebrate: "At nine past nine the piggy swine/ Broke down the door and guzzled brine/ And hogged sweet cakes and oinked loud grunts/ And pulled all kinds of dirty stunts." The elaborately costumed party animals replace the original animation's nine more ordinary pigs, and include a society matron, a grim reaper, greedy infants, and motley fools. Together they resemble a Saul Steinberg subterranean fantasia and allude to Sendak's decades of pop culture memories. In a Where the Wild Things Are spirit, the ecstatic crew dives into a wordless three-spread rumpus. A dizzy sequence shows Adeline busting up the party and confronting Bumble. "I won't ever turn ten!" he weeps, and she quickly forgives him. There's a looseness to Sendak's pencil lines throughout, particularly in transitional spreads that look as though torn from a sketchbook. Yet%E2%80%94in the outwardly breezy and subtly sinister mode of Higglety Pigglety Pop!%E2%80%94the hallucinatory imagery and impish rhymes are vintage Sendak. All ages. (Sept.)