"FOR BETTY WITH PLEASURE!": RARE FIRST EDITION OF TEN LITTLE RABBITS, PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY MAURICE SENDAK WITH AN ORIGINAL DRAWING OF MINO THE MAGICIAN, INSCRIBED BY SENDAK TO A CLOSE FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR
SENDAK, Maurice. Ten Little Rabbits. A Counting Book with Mino the Magician. Philadelphia: Rosenbach Foundation, 1970. 16mo (2-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches), staple-bound as issued, original marbled blue paper wrappers, mounted cover label. $2800.
First edition, presentation copy, of this rabbit-themed counting book, one of approximately 200 copies printed, inscribed to Sendak's close friend and neighbor: "For Betty, Maurice Sendak Nov. '75," with an original drawing of Mino the Magician saying "with pleasure!"
Sendak wrote and illustrated Ten Little Rabbits as a small project for the Rosenbach in Philadelphia. The book was then published to accompany an exhibition of Sendak's art. The story is a simple one: a magician named Mino pulls ten rabbits out of a hat and then makes them vanish again after wrangling ten rabbits proves to be overwhelming. According to the research of leading Sendak bibliographer, Joyce Hanrahan, the first printing of Ten Little Rabbits comprised just 200 copies, all in marbled blue wrappers. When those copies ran out, the second printing was released in marbled red wrappers. A number of those copies were subsequently discovered in a box at the Rosenbach. Later, an official second printing—actually the third—was released in solid blue wrappers. As a result, any copy of this work is quite scarce, with the first printing being even more rare. First printing, with marbled blue wrappers instead of marbled red or plain blue wrappers. Hanrahan A76. 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 featuring the cake). Sendak often referred to Betty as "Elizabeth" in inscriptions as he felt that "Betty" was too common a name. The many inscribed drawings, along with first editions, signed books, and other valuable items grew into one of the country's premier Sendak collections.
Slightest toning to wrappers. About-fine condition.