SENDAK, MAURICE. (1928-2012). American children’s book author and illustrator best known for Where the Wild Things Are. Signed book. (“Maurice Sendak”). 40pp. 4to. N.p., December 1970. A first edition of In the Night Kitchen inscribed with a charming ink drawing of Mickey, the book’s main character, on the front free endpaper, inscribed “gratefully” to Leroy Richmond with Mickey saying in a speech bubble “Who is a super friend!”
Sendak, affected at an early age by the loss of his extended family in the Holocaust, started out as an illustrator, inspired in his youth by Walt Disney’s film Fantasia. After more than a decade illustrating children’s books, including Else Minarik’s popular series Little Bear and I.B. Singer’s Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories, Sendak began writing and illustrating his own stories. His 1963 book Where the Wild Things Are was controversial when first published, viewed as too dark for children because of its exploration of anger as well as the illustrations of “wild things.” However, it quickly became a favorite of children, parents and teachers alike, winning a Caldecott Medal in 1964.
A subsequent work, In the Night Kitchen, a Caldecott Medal Honor Book, is one of the American Library Association’s frequently challenged and banned books because it depicts the main character in the nude. In addition to his children’s books, Sendak designed stage sets and costumes, advised the developers of Sesame Street and produced an animated television program. In 1990, Sendak collaborated with playwright Tony Kushner in adapting Brundibár, the Czech opera about the Holocaust, and released an illustrated book on the subject in 2003.
Some light paper loss and wear to the edges of the dustjacket. The lower right corner of the front flap is clipped. Book is in fine condition.