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The Art of Maurice Sendak Hardcover – September 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews Review

In a nutshell, The Art of Maurice Sendak is simply stunning. Page after page of lavish full-color illustrations and black-and-whites from one of America's best-loved children's artists adorn this hefty volume. Sendak, best known for the charming and timeless Where the Wild Things Are, never fails to amuse and astonish with his creative wizardry. He was talented from the cradle, and his early works from the 1940s are given due recognition here--reflecting his fascination with the small intricacies of being human, and his devilish sense of humor. Even a stuffy physics textbook from 1947 is given the Sendak touch, as atoms, molecules, and chain reactions take on the form of people jiving and swinging. Always the artistic adventurer, Sendak experiments with many different forms--from the fairy-tale-like pen-and-ink drawings of Higglety Pigglety Pop! to the beautiful watercolor pieces that illustrate Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present. Virtually every page contains another Sendak gem--be it a quick sketch, an exquisite portrait of his mother or sister, or the preliminary drawings from Where the Wild Things Are. Three huge fold-outs make for an extra-special treat.

The book's rich text is exemplary--based on interviews, conversations, and extensive research by Sendak's close friend Selma Lanes. The author invites us into the very special world of Maurice Sendak, a place of fantasies and wonderment, a land where adults can be children--and never grow up. --Naomi Gesinger


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 258 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams; 2nd edition (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810980630
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810980631
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Edward Juan on April 7, 2003
Format: Hardcover
For many north american and japanese families, everyone must remember the legendary children book of their young age, "Where the wild things are" by Maurice Sendak. Well, Sendak didn't just draw and write his own children books. He did many other things before actually getting to the success he is at now.
The book goes in detail about Sendak's personal life growing up in Brooklyn, New York, from his very early stage of life as a Polish American child to his approach as an artist at teenage age. The author talks about his influence from his parents and siblings, as well their struggle to survive the recessive economy in America. The author treats Sendak as an artist, who explores mostly around the writings and illustrations of children. The book shows many rare prints and drawings of Sendak. How Sendak plays with art materials and his creativity into both pictorial children books and editorial illustrations. Near the end of the book it also talks about his plans and drawings for theatre art, especially the opera for "Where the Wild Things Are". Something not everyone knew about!
I would say this is a book for any illustration fan or artist to own. But don't get it for your kid, it is no children book, it is an artbook mostly aim for adults and collectors.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Armando N. Roman TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Let me tell you straight up that if you like any of Maurice Sendak's drawings, this book is an instant treasure. There are so many illustrations in this book that you could spend weeks looking over them and still find something new on any given day. Getting 100% full pages of art from Where the Wild Things Are is enough, but finding out that it was originally going to be Where the Wild Horses Are and getting some artwork from that version? I was blown away. And that's just the mist around the tip of the iceberg! When it comes down to it, there's something here for everyone- the art is diverse, though that's to be expected from Mr. Sendak, and it's presented in a professional manner with no clutter or annoying lack of organization.

However, the biography by Selma Lanes had me shaking my head after just a few sentences. As others have pointed out, she's bonkers for the guy and respects his privacy so much that it's downright pointless for her to even be talking about him at all. Many of the stories for the art get to the point where she does everything but get down on her hands and knees and worship the guy. I consider Maurice Sendak to be one of the greatest illustrators I've ever seen the work of, but come on. Nearly every paragraph had something that made me cringe with embarrassment.

Basically, get this for the drawings and just ignore the text that isn't labeling the art, or isn't on the art itself. Heck, this book could've lost a pound or two if they skipped the bio! Regardless, this is a book that I hold dear and enjoy showing others to see just how far Mr. Sendak can go, but even then I look forward to another collection since he's still drawing.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Vanessa Hutchinson on March 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Like countless others I emerged from childhood loving the stories and artwork of Maurice Sendak. Now as an artist myself I would like to know more about him, his techniques and inspiration. The bio is a tiresome read. Obviously Selma Lanes adores Maurice Sendak judging by the gushy and somewhat sycophantic writing. I think she has been so careful to respect his privacy that there is nothing insightful written at all. I reckon she could have done a better job.
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