"FROM HER OLD MISHBOOKER FRIEND": FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, OF YORINKS AND SENDAK'S THE MIAMI GIANT, INSCRIBED BY MAURICE SENDAK TO A CLOSE FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR
(SENDAK, Maurice) YORINKS, Arthur. The Miami Giant. (New York): Michael Di Capua / HarperCollins, (1995). Quarto, original pictorial paper boards, original dust jacket. $900.
First edition, presentation copy, of this humorous children's story packed with Yiddishkeit, inscribed by Sendak to a close friend and neighbor: "For Elizabeth Graham from her old Mishbooker friend. Maurice Sendak March '96."
"Two giants of children's literature tell a comic-book story of a Gulliver-Columbus-knight, who discovers the Jewish natives of Miami in all their primitive splendor. Giaweeni leaves Italy to look for China, but he swerves a little and 'brilliantly' stumbles on a lost tribe of dancing giants, the Mishbookers of Miami. They 'led a simple primitive life. They ate. They slept. They went bowling.' He shows them the modern wonders of the telescope and iced tea. They show him their beads and comfortable beach chairs. He brings a giant back alive to become a star in Europe, but the show bombs, and the giant goes back home to Miami… [T]he exaggerated illustrations have the elemental appeal of the cheerful vulgarity of stand-up comedy and of sports and celebrity hype. The discovery quest is a sly commentary on all our exotic stereotypes. The European nobles are as brash as the Miami natives; in fact, the two groups look a lot alike, and both sometimes bear a distinct resemblance to those Wild Things we all know" (Booklist). Hanrahan A143. 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.
A fine inscribed copy.