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I Saw Esau
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This inspired collaboration marries the earliest work of the Opies--British folklorists who for four decades charted the territory of childhood through schoolchildren's language--with new illustrations that show Sendak at his finest. With the shape and heft of a handbook, the volume is, in effect, a primer of children's humour and lore. Many rhymes are instantly familiar; others are less so--especially those with a British tinge. Merely perusing the Contents page, with such tantalising listings as "Guile-Malicious" and "Guile-Innocent," is a delectable exercise. Because the Opies' particular genius lay in mapping the verbal turf of children themselves--and not adults' often sanitised versions--the rhymes they collected portray not only the playfulness of childhood but its occasional crudeness and cruelty as well. For the same reason, they exude spontaneity and energy. Sendak's illustrations pick up this energy and add their own. His characters are, variously, mischievous, sprightly, gnarly and spectral, and possessed of a seemingly endless array of expressions. Appealing and immediately accessible, they are drawn in simple, clean lines that recall his early work and painted with a broad palette that ranges from rich russets to soft indigos. The text and art are seamlessly interactive: small figures chase each other around the type; larger illustrations mingle images from several verses. And Sendak's ability to create provocative psychological dimension is in full evidence as well. The sequence illustrating the ubiquitous "Rain, rain, go away" is accompanied by a series showing a child's mother gradually transformed into a protective tree; the figure pelted in "Sticks and stones" is a skeleton itself. The republication of these rhymes brings the Opies' work full circle; the book seems a satisfying culmination of Sendak's gifts as well. Ages 5-up.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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About the Author

Iona and Peter Opie were married in 1943 and worked together for nearly forty years, studying and writing about children's lore and literature until Peter's death in 1982. Among their collaborations is The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes. Iona Opie lives in England. Maurice Sendak has created texts and illustrations for more than seventy books, which have sold millions of copies around the world. He has won numerous awards, including a Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award for his body of work. He lives in New England.

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