cover image Maurice Sendak: A Celebration of the Artist and His Work

Maurice Sendak: A Celebration of the Artist and His Work

Justin G. Schiller and Dennis M. V. David, edited by Leonard S. Marcus . Abrams, $45 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0826-8

This laudatory catalogue presents reminiscences of the beloved children's author and illustrator from both friends and colleagues. Alongside hundreds of images, focusing largely on sketches and commercial work that has not previously been reproduced, the text tours through Sendak's celebrated career and his impact on children's literature, with particular attention of course given to the classic Where the Wild Things Are and its characters' afterlife in different media. The 12twelve gathered essays come from illustrators, publishers, librarians, and rare book dealers, most of whom were lucky enough to work with Sendak at one point or another. On a whole, they provide light and sentimental information on the artist, praising his wide-ranging work in occasionally breathless tones and applauding his contributions to everything from commercial illustration to opera, typically remaining brief if not quite pithy in doing so. The catalogue relies on its audience already being Sendak enthusiasts, but rarely delves deeply into his working methods or personal life, resulting in a pleasant but often superficial commemoration. If primarily for the images themselves, however, it manages to conjure a sweet sense of joy, and Sendak's own singular style transcends the sometimes cloying treatment it is given here. Color illustrations. (June)