Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Celebrating Maurice Sendak

For Celebrate the Author this month, I'm celebrating Maurice Sendak, who certainly deserves it! He was born June 10, 1928. I get many compilments on my "Where the Wild Things Are" t-shirt. And I had the pleasure of re-reading WTWTA it to my 3-year-old niece this month, and it was lovely - she was captivated. Best children's book ever. And I have such fond memories of singing the songs from Really Rosie when I was a kid - I wanted to put it on as a play!

Maurice Sendak = awesome.

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.


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of celebrating an author every month! This one sounds like it would make a good conversation with the child after reading it.

Stacy said...

I completely agree with your 'awesome' equation. WTWTA is one of my favorites and I am always pleasantly surprised when I read books that are illustrated by him. I will be reading Wodehouse right along with you in October:)

Rebecca said...


I am writing on behalf of G. P. Putnam’s Sons because we occasionally send out advance copies of books we are particularly excited about and we would love to have your contact information.

If possible, please reply via email to Rebecca.Kilman@us.penguingroup.com.

Thank you so much,

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Psmith - Hooray, I had a feeling you might be celebrating Wodehouse, too. :) And yep, he's awesome! I love his little people!

tinylittlelibrarian said...

Stacy - Yeah, it's been fun to celebrate them - reminds me how much joy I get out of my favourite authors.