PRESENTATION COPY OF THE MOON JUMPERS, INSCRIBED BY MAURICE SENDAK TO A CLOSE FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR, WITH AN ORIGINAL DRAWING OF A CAT
(SENDAK, Maurice) UDRY, Janice May. The Moon Jumpers. New York: Harper & Row, (1959). Slim quarto, original half maroon cloth, original dust jacket. $2600.
First edition, presentation copy, of a “child’s exhilaration and enchantment with the loveliness of summer nights,” inscribed by Sendak to a close friend and neighbor: "For Elizabeth Graham, Maurice Sendak May '85," and with an original drawing of a cat saying "MEOW!"
"'The warm night-wind tosses our hair. The wind chimes stir. And we all dance, barefooted. Over and over the grass. We climb the tree, just to be in a tree at night.' Here is a child's exhilaration and enchantment with the loveliness of summer nights, with the magic of moonlight." "No one has ever touched the moon" Udry tells us and silently encourages us to give it a try. "For the Moon Jumpers, Maurice Sendak has painted some of his most glorious pictures, catching the moon's illumination of the grass, the house, and the dancing children." The first edition of The Moon Jumpers appeared in 1959 under the Harper & Brothers imprint (as here). In 1960, Harper & Brothers merged with Row-Peterson to form Harper & Row. Early-issue dust jacket, with correct codes and blurb, but price-clipped thereby preventing definitive identification as the first issue. Hanrahan A36. 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 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). In inscriptions, Betty is often referred to as "Elizabeth"; Sendak felt that her name was "common" and didn't suit her. The many inscribed drawings, along with first editions, signed books, limited edition books, and other valuable items grew into one of the country's premier Sendak collections. Small slip reading, "for Michael with love" laid in. A number of books in this collection are expressly addressed to an unidentified "Michael."
Book with light foxing mainly to preliminary and concluding pages and only slightest rubbing to board edges. Price-clipped dust jacket with a bit of wear to extremities, vertical crease and mild toning to spine. An extremely good inscribed copy.