Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Let's Be Enemies

Let's Be Enemies
Janice May Udry with pictures by Maurice Sendak
Harper & Row, 1961

Just can't get enough of that Sendak stuff. Really, his backlist is a lovely, endless highway that just goes on and on through the most beautiful and shocking landscape. Always a surprise around the corner. I don't remember the why of how this perfect little paperback came into our lives, but my son loves flipping through it saying... "On this page, they are friends." *page turn* "Uh oh, now they are enemies."

When James was my friend
I invited him to my birthday party.
I always shared my pretzels
and my umbrella with him.
I showed him where the horny toad lives.
We were such good friends
that we had the chicken pox together.
But I wouldn't have the chicken pox
with James now.
He is my enemy.
James always wants to be boss.

Don't we all have friends like that? The little faces Sendak draws here alternate between delightful, soft smiles and grumpy, downward grins. They project such emotion that kids can immediately relate to the actions and feelings of the two boys without having to read the story. (Though Janice's back and forth plot line rocks hard too!) Plus, the book itself is tiny, and I am all about tiny books with tiny illustrations for heaven's sake. Another honest lesson learned at the pen of the man who doesn't write/draw for kids, but for his own wicked sense of self. Sharp as a tack that dude.

Also by:
A Very Special House
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present
Moon Jumpers
What Do You Say, Dear?
Pierre: A Cautionary Tale
A Tree is Nice
Some Swell Pup
Chicken Soup with Rice
Lullabies and Night Songs
Outside Over There
I'll Be You and You Be Me
The Juniper Tree
Where the Wild Things Are
Seven Little Monsters
The Giant Story


Unknown said...

we read pierre at least once a week. we have the nutshell library that i had when i was little.

Anonymous said...

cool blog. i was at a goodwill shopping back in west virginia a couple of years ago and stumbled on this book. i dont have any kids (and dont plan to for a long, long time) but i was drawn toward sendak's illustrations. this book, in my opinion, is amazing! its just skewed enough to be unique, seperate from any other childrens books produced today. i've been keeping an eye out for more children's books illustrated by sendak with a kind of off kilter story line, but havent had any luck recently. you're blog is a great motivation!

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