Books by Peter Opie

I SAW ESAU by Iona Opie
Released: June 5, 1992

A collection of traditional schoolyard verse, winningly grouped in 31 subjects from "Beginning of Term" to "End of Term" ("No more beetles in my tea,/Making googly eyes at me") and including not just "Insults," "Riddles," and "Nonsense" but such creative headings as "Retaliation," "Guile—Innocent," "Book Desecration," and "Lullabies—Adolescent Style"—a book originally published in Britain in 1947 and now given glorious new life. Sendak peoples these small (5"X7") pages with hundreds of marvelous characters, many in the irresistible small size he used in the "Nutshell Library": delectable caricatures; cocky kids brimming with mischief (even some of the appealingly vulnerable babies have a wicked gleam in the eye); and more fearsome figures, reminders that—as children themselves well know—darkness ever lurks. Sendak also dramatizes the verses' challenging spirit in some splendidly witty and imaginative interpretations: Dr. Fell is truly ghoulish, but his victim remains undaunted. Scores of these pictures are masterpieces of illustration: lively, exquisitely designed, offering unexpected insights while enthusiastically celebrating their texts. Overall, the handsome format is worthy of the content, and the mood is insouciant glee. A treasure. New introduction by Iona Opic; notes, nicely leavened by Sendak's characters, who reappear among them. (Folklore. 5+) Read full book review >