Caldecott & Co.

 Caldecott & Co.: Notes on Books and Pictures, by Maurice Sendak

This was a nice collection of short essays about various illustrators or author/illustrators.  Most were pieces published in newspaper "books and culture"-type sections, some are reviews or introductions to various volumes, and there are a couple of talks as well.  Mostly, Sendak chooses a favorite illustrator or writer, and just talks about what he loves in each one.  His detailed analysis of certain pictures is fasinating, but inevitably the reader wants more of the pictures included; only rarely is the discussed image actually there to study.  If they reprinted it now there would probably be more, but this edition dates from 1988 and they just weren't going to put a lot of illustrations in.

Many of my own favorite writers or illustrators are included here, such as Caldecott (of course),  Hans Christian Andersen, Edward Ardizzone, even George MacDonald (!)  Beatrix Potter gets two essays, as does Walt Disney.  They're arranged chronologically, so that we start with Mother Goose herself and end with modernists.  I also found several new-to-me artists; I'd never heard of Lothar Meggendorfer and spent a happy hour finding Youtube videos of his 'mechanical toy' books.  I also got hints as to the best translator for HCA and Sendak's own favorite antique edition of Mother Goose, which is The Only True Mother Goose Melodies by Munroe and Francis.

Lothar Meggendorfer's "Always Jolly"

Anybody with an interest in children's literature and illustration, or just in Maurice Sendak, will enjoy this book.  He discusses his own works as well, especially Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. There's even a nice piece on the process of putting the Stowell/Sendak version of the Nutcracker on film.

PS: Would you believe that In the Night Kitchen is still being subjected to book challenges?  It was recently removed, against policy, from a public library in Llano County in Texas.


  1. Oh, this sounds so great! I wish someone *would* reprint it, with nice color images of the things Sendak is talking about, because I definitely can't visualize things on my own.


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