But I had to pick a book I hadn't read of Sendak's, which was a challenge. I found Brundibar - a picture book version of "a Czech opera for children that was performed fifty-five times by the children of Terezin, the Nazi concentration camp." I didn't know that until just now, when I looked it up, although the Jews in the pictures are wearing prominent yellow stars on their coats and there are Nazi-looking uniforms in the town, so I knew it had something to do with that period.
Here's the story: "When Aninku and Pepicek discover one morning that their mother is sick, they rush to town for milk to make her better. Their attempt to earn money by singing is thwarted by a bullying, bellowing hurdy-gurdy grinder, Brundibar, who tyrannizes the town square and chases all other street musicians away. Befriended by three intelligent talking animals and three hundred helpful schoolkids, brother and sister sing for the money to buy the milk, defeat the bully, and triumphantly return home."
It's a bit of a weird picture book, I have to say, but I was pleased by the triumphant ending. The artwork is classic Sendak - the kids look like his kids and the baker in town is straight out of In the Night Kitchen. It would be a good read aloud for 7 or 8 year-0lds, especially the part about bullying. And it would definitely be good to pair with units on Anne Frank for older elementary school kids.