Who says unpublished Sendaks get to have all the fun?
This unpublished manuscript from the creator of A Hole Is To Dig (which was illustrated by said Sendak in 1952) follows in very much the same vein as that classic. It’s ostensibly an alphabet book, and each letter is represented by a clear-cut command to child readers. They are urged in no uncertain terms to attempt short, simple acts (“Nod YES”), to make grand declarations (“Yell, ‘Good morning, big fat world!’ ”), and to attain moments of distilled poetry (“Open your eyes, see the sea / Shut them fast, lock it in”). Ruzzier’s ink-and-watercolor illustrations meet, with great command, the challenge of making sense of Krauss’ more esoteric urgings. Thus, “Go like a road” is illustrated with a (possibly) benign python a trail of mice walk along, and “Eat all the locks off the doors” features a pig, with a door stretched before it, screwdriver and wrench gripped like a fork and knife. Where Krauss rejoiced in children’s irrepressible sense of self, Ruzzier’s art recapitulates that feeling, and, with his cast of cats, rats, bugs, and birds, he is unafraid to bring a little surrealism into the mix. Ultimately, this work adroitly bridges the more-than–half-century gap between two accomplished artists.
An abecedarian catalog of delights. (Picture book. 3-6)