cover image Caldecott and Co.: Notes on Books and Pictures

Caldecott and Co.: Notes on Books and Pictures

Maurice Sendak. Farrar Straus Giroux, $18.95 (216pp) ISBN 978-0-374-22598-8

This seems to be the year of Maurice Sendak. On the heels of Dear Mili comes this slim anthology of his essays and musings on writing and illustrating for children. It reveals a formidable intelligence, and a remarkable degree of empathy with fellow toilers in what is too often regarded as a somewhat lesser field of endeavor: as if writing and drawing for children were a distinctly second-best activity. Without being weighty about it, Sendak shows the degree of imagination, craft and humanity that goes into the best of this work. There are notably generous appreciations of well-known artists like Randolph Caldecott, Beatrix Potter and Jean de Brunhoff, and sharp-eyed essays on Andersen, the ``Mother Goose'' tradition and the best and worst of Walt Disney. There are also more ephemeral pieces like award acceptances, interviews and brief prefaces to booksthough almost none is without some worthwhile observation. What comes through above all is Sendak's open-hearted admiration for craft and respect for true, ageless imagination. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Oct.)