Rare Book Monthly

Articles - June - 2012 Issue

Sendak’s Death Spurs Interest in His Works

5 early copy of

The first book Sendak illustrated was Atomics for the Millions published in 1947.

Interest also appears to be growing in the early editions of the Little Bear books written by Else Holmelund Minarik with Sendak illustrations. These came out as part of popular I Can Read series. In fact, Little Bear was the first book in this influential series which began in 1957.

It is very difficult to find early editions of the Little Bear books with dust jackets. Most of what comes to market is in the truly shabby condition - the result of being read to pieces. At the moment it’s not that the early Little Bear books are expensive, just that they hardly ever show up in the pristine condition that appeals to collectors.

In addition to the Hanrahan bibliography, another essential reference title is the Art of Maurice Sendak by Selma Lanes published by Abrams in 1980. The first printing has a clear mylar wrap over unlettered color pictorial boards of the Wild Things. The mylar has white overprinting. The first edition also contains a Red Riding Hood pop-up on page 37. Later editions drop the mylar wrap and substitute a photo for the actual pop-up.

Not Everything Interesting Is Expensive

Though it’s easy to drop big bucks forming a Sendak collection from scratch, not everything is expensive.

The later works are abundant and inexpensive. His most recent title, a pop-up called Mommy, published in 2006, is still widely and easily available.

If you were in New York City during Christmas 1996 you could have picked up a free poster showing a Wild Thing storming Gotham. It was handout at the Sony exhibit. There are many other Sendak illustrated posters at reasonable prices.

Just a short time ago a signed first with a dust jacket of Higglety Pigglety Pop!(1967) went for $20 on eBay. Somebody got a deal.

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