Open House for Butterflies

Maurice SENDAK   |   Ruth KRAUSS

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Item#: 123724 price:$600.00

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(SENDAK, Maurice) KRAUSS, Ruth. Open House for Butterflies. New York: Harper & Brothers, (1960). Slim 12mo, original half black cloth, pictorial endpapers, original dust jacket. $600.

First edition of this “multitude of enchanting pictures and wisely humorous, child-like words,” inscribed by the illustrator to a close friend and neighbor: "For Elizabeth with pleasure! Maurice Sendak April '79."

Winner of the New York Times Award for Best Illustrated Book, Open House for Butterflies was one of eight acclaimed collaborations between Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak. Its "multitude of enchanting pictures, and the wisely humorous, child-like words will captivate readers and listeners of any and all ages." Pioneer of great children's literature, Krauss produced more than 30 books during her 40-year career. "Sendak has never done more delectable children" (Library Journal). This is the first edition, with Harper & Brothers imprint (quickly replaced by Harper & Row). Without original dust jacket. Hanrahan A39. The former owner of this inscribed book was Maurice Sendak's neighbor, Andrew, from Ridgefield, Connecticut. Sendak bought a home and studio in Ridgefield in 1972 with his longtime partner, Eugene Glynn, and lived there until his death. Andrew first encountered Sendak in 1975 during one of his daily dog walks. (Sendak owned many dogs throughout his life, and they often starred in his books.) Andrew was immediately taken with Sendak, who reminded him of his recently deceased father. One day, Andrew called Sendak at home and asked if he could join him on his walks. Andrew and Sendak thus embarked on a 37-year friendship that also included the Andrew's mother, Betty, as well as Andrew's brother. Sendak went on long walks and hikes with Andrew and his family regularly, discussing general life events, opera, and books. He also invited them into his studio to show off works in progress. Andrew's mother, Betty, was an avid reader and collector and she and Sendak would talk late into the night about books. Sendak offered Betty—who he sometimes called "Elizabeth" as here—advice about how to find and authenticate rare children's books, which she used to build her collection. Additionally, he frequently bartered for autographs (i.e. a cake for an inscribed drawing). The many inscribed drawings, along with first editions, signed books, and other valuable items grew into one of the country's premier Sendak collections.

A few tiny spots of soiling to interior, light wear to binding. A near-fine inscribed copy.

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