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My Brother's Book Hardcover – February 5, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In his foreword, Shakespeare scholar Stephen Greenblatt describes Sendak’s last, posthumously published book as “something rich and strange.” And so it is. Combining lushly beautiful art in the manner of Blake and Fuseli with a text reconfigured from Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale, Sendak’s richly imagined book offers a magical and mysterious tribute to his beloved older brother, Jack, who died in 1995. The story follows the respective plights of two brothers, Jack and Guy, who are seemingly separated by a new star’s smashing into the earth. Jack is catapulted into a continent of ice and “stuck fast in water like a stone.” Guy, meanwhile, is plunged into the dangerous lair of a bear that threatens to consume him. Will the brothers survive to be reunited in love and peace? Distinguished by its pervasive sense of longing and informed by extraordinary art—some of Sendak’s most beautiful—My Brother’s Book is a celebration of the enduring love of two brothers. One’s first impulse is to marvel at the exquisite art and then to turn to the Shakespearean text to understand how the two seemingly disparate elements harmonize. Inviting reading and rereading, Sendak’s tribute to his brother is also a final tribute to his own genius. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Is there a children’s author whose name has been more enduring and recognizable than the late Sendak’s? Grades 10-12. --Michael Cart

Review

The sharply felt humor and yearning that infuse both the verbal and visual narratives will kindle profound emotional responses in hearts of any age. (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

Distinguished by its pervasive sense of longing and informed by extraordinary art—some of Sendak’s most beautiful—My Brother’s Book is a celebration of the enduring love of two brothers. Inviting reading and rereading, Sendak’s tribute to his brother is also a final tribute to his own genius. (Booklist (starred review))

To read this intensely private work is to look over the artist’s shoulder as he crafts his own afterworld, a place where he lies in silent embrace with those he loves forever. (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (February 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780062234896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062234896
  • ASIN: 0062234897
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

For more than forty years, the books Maurice Sendak has written and illustrated have nurtured children and adults alike and have challenged established ideas about what children's literature is and should be. The New York Times has recognized that Sendak's work "has brought a new dimension to the American children's book and has helped to change how people visualize childhood." Parenting recently described Sendak as "indisputably, the most revolutionary force in children's books."
Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, in 1970 Sendak became the first American illustrator to receive the international Hans Christian Andersen Award, given in recognition of his entire body of work. In 1983, he received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association, also given for his entire body of work.
Beginning in 1952, with A Hole Is to Dig by Ruth Krauss, Sendak's illustrations have enhanced many texts by other writers, including the Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik, children's books by Isaac Bashevis Singer and Randall Jarrell, and The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm. Dear Mili, Sendak's interpretation of a newly discovered tale by Wilhelm Grimm, was published to extraordinary acclaim in 1988.
In addition to Where the Wild Things Are (1963), Sendak has both written and illustrated
The Nutshell Library (1962), Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1967), In the Night Kitchen (1970), Outside Over There (1981), and, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy (1993). He also illustrated Swine Lake (1999), authored by James Marshall, Brundibar (2003), by Tony Kushner, Bears (2005), by Ruth Krauss and, Mommy? (2006), his first pop-up book, with paper engineering by Matthew Reinhart and story by Arthur Yorinks.
Since 1980, Sendak has designed the sets and costumes for highly regarded productions of Mozart's The Magic Flute and Idomeneo, Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, Prokofiev's
The Love for Three Oranges, Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, and Hans Krása's Brundibár.
In 1997, Sendak received the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton. In 2003 he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children's literature established by the Swedish government. Maurice Sendak was born in Brooklyn in 1928. He now lives in Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

47 of 50 people found the following review helpful By G. Thompson on February 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Although this book was written not only for Sendak's brother, but also his long-time lover/partner, it is as a brother that I wish to comment. My older brother -- my only living sibling -- is locked in the cruel arms of Parkinson's Disease, like Jack in this book, he is "a snow image stuck fast in water like stone." For me, it was nearly impossible to read this beautiful book without thinking of the bond that exists between brothers -- he is the only person still living who has known me all my life and visa versa. The images in this book of the two brothers thrown apart by life with separate paths, yet uniting in the end embracing one another are so authentic.

I'm not sure that this is a book that young children will warm to, although the theme of final resolution, enduring love, and safety even with adversity are comforting. But I am sure that this book will become a classic within many families as brothers age and ancient bonds assume new power. This is a book to share with your brother, then to buy another copy to read and re-read yourself.
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43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Aceto TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Maurice Sendak has sent us his good bye. He wrote it five years after his brother had died in 1995. He tells us so in the poem, that it is his snowghost's fifth anniversary. He knew he eventually would need to publish, as a matter of his sense of the cosmos. Closeness and separation are the human story, the continual wounding. Reunion is a mystical goal; he achieves it with his parting poem. His life, as are all of ours, was one of living love and interruption. His stories often have this separation, as does this final poem through the device of the new star cleaving the earth in two. He must have, in our finite lives, a resolution of enduring embraces. Imagination makes the mystical possible. For Sendak it is the divine touching of the by transcendent by the immanent. Or as Blake put it: "The Eternal Body of Man is The IMAGINATION...The Imagination which Liveth for Ever".

The first about this little book to strike us is its art. It is, in part, his thanks and farewell to William Blake. Somehow in the bowels of Brooklyn, he encountered Blake. No wonder here. Blake would have, as a supporter of the American colonies, (he was also a trouble maker) known Brooklyn (King's County to the Crown); and he is known there. They both had the Brooklyners' response to authority: rude noises. Like Sendak, Blake was both artist and writer. He said Blake was his great and abiding love, his first teacher in all things. He shared Blakes primacy of the child. This is not some romantic notion. They believed that the child has contact to the eternal through imagination.

Maurice and Jack's grandparents, Israel and Bulma, lived in Russian occupied Poland before the millennium; the one before the one we passed not long ago.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Wulfstan TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
As many of you know, Maurice Sendak passed away into the Wild Place last year, at the grand old age of 83. He'll be sorely missed by all of us with a childlike sense of whimsy & imagination. His books really weren't for children as much as for the Child in all of us.

Besides "Where the Wild Things Are" he wrote about another score of books and illustrated many times that.

"My Brother's Book" was written as a memorial for Maurice's brother Jack (who also wrote children's books), but fittingly this final book also serves as a memorial for the author himself. The book also was written in memory of the authors partner, Eugene Glynn.

Is it another Where the Wild Things Are? No, of course not. Nor were any other of his books. Still, the illustrated poem is simply marvelous and fantastic with polar bears and dreams, gorgeously illustrated and perhaps a little haunting. Expect to tear up a little, and laugh at least once.

"Good Night/And you will dream of me".

Thanks Maurice.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Yogamom67 on July 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books that will stay with you long after you put it down. The illustrations are gorgeous and Sendak's poem to his brother Jack is both heartbreakingly beautiful and comforting "And Jack slept safe, enfolded in his brother's arms. And Guy whispered, "Good night..."

It's impossible not to be moved by this book, especially in light of Sendak's recent death. It so perfectly captures the unwavering loss felt at the death of a loved one - a loss that does not lessen with time, but instead becomes more acute as days turn into months and then to years.

As other reviewers have commented, buy one for yourself, for your sibling(s), for your friends. I can imagine giving this book as a gift to someone who has suffered a recent loss, as well. Comforting words are so difficult to find when someone we care for is grieving. This book, instead, offers a deep understanding that can only be found among those who have loved deeply and mourned with passion.

Finally, it must be noted that this book is beautifully constructed, as well. With gorgeously heavy paper, forest green cloth-covered and embossed boards, and a dust jacket that is both delicate and substantial - this is a book that begs to be held and caressed. I realize that may sound a bit heavy handed to some readers, but fellow bibliophiles will be nodding in agreement.
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