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A lost Maurice Sendak book will be published next year

An illustration from Presto And Zesto In Limboland (Photo: Maurice Sendak Foundation)

A full manuscript, complete with illustrations, of a lost book by Maurice Sendak has been unearthed in the late author’s Connecticut home. Discovered by Lynn Caponera—the president of the Maurice Sendak foundation and a friend and assistant to the Where The Wild Things Are scribe—the illustrations for the book, called Presto And Zesto In Limboland, were created in 1990 to accompany a London Symphony Orchestra performance of Leoš Janáček’s Říkadla, a 1927 musical adaptation of Czech nursery rhymes. A story was later developed, but the book was never published and got lost among Sendak’s archives. It’s now set to be released in 2018 by Michael di Capua Books/HarperCollins, more than six years after Sendak’s death.

According to a report in Publishers’ Weekly, Presto And Zesto was co-authored by Arthur Yorinks, a friend and frequent collaborator of Sendak’s, and the title is a reference to the nicknames the two gave each other. Sendak drew the 10 illustrations in 1990, but he and his editor, Michael Di Capua, put the project aside after translating Říkadla’s Czech verses proved too difficult. Seven years later, Yorinks suggested stitching the illustrations into a book, and the authors ended up tying them together with a story based on their own friendship. But with other projects vying for their attention, Presto And Zesto fell by the wayside yet again and hadn’t been seen until Caponera’s discovery. “The memory of writing it originally flooded back in a wonderful kind of way,” Yorinks told Publishers’ Weekly in reference to revisiting and editing the text. “We always had a lot of laughs for two really depressed guys.”


[via The Guardian]

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