"BEE HAPPY!": FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY, OF THE BEE-MAN OF ORN, INSCRIBED BY MAURICE SENDAK TO HIS CLOSE FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR WITH AN ORIGINAL DRAWING OF THE BEE-MAN
STOCKTON, Frank R. The Bee-Man of Orn. New York, Chicago, and San Francisco: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, (1964). Slim quarto, original half taupe cloth, mounted cover illustration, pictorial endpapers, original dust jacket. $750.
First edition of this beautifully illustrated folktale, inscribed on the half title to Sendak's close friend and neighbor: "For Andy, Maurice Sept. '76," with an original drawing of the Bee-Man saying, "Bee happy! OYE."
"The Bee-Man of Orn (1964) concerns an elderly man who sets out to discover his true origins. Highlighted by Sendak's memorable color illustrations, [this] spirited, satirical tale [is] perfect for reading aloud and may lead modern readers to seek out other works by this highly imaginative author" (Silvey, 632). Without original dust jacket. Hanrahan A61. 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). 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.
Only faintest foxing to preliminary and concluding pages, light rubbing and slightest soiling to binding, a bit of toning to spine. An extremely good inscribed copy with original sketch.