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I saw Esau : the schoolchild's pocket book
Opie, Iona Archibald.
Children's Fiction PR977 .I185 1992

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This inspired collaboration marries the earliest work of the Opies--British folklorists who for four decades charted the territory of childhood through schoolchildren's language--with new illustrations that show Sendak at his finest. With the shape and heft of a handbook, the volume is, in effect, a primer of children's humor and lore. Many rhymes are instantly familiar; others are less so--especially those with a British tinge. Merely perusing the Contents page, with such tantalizing listings as ``Guile-Malicious'' and ``Guile-Innocent,'' is a delectable exercise. Because the Opies' particular genius lay in mapping the verbal turf of children themselves--and not adults' often sanitized versions--the rhymes they collected portray not only the playfulness of childhood but its occasional crudeness and cruelty as well. For the same reason, they exude spontaneity and energy. Sendak's illustrations pick up this energy and add their own. His characters are, variously, mischievous, sprightly, gnarly and spectral, and possessed of a seemingly endless array of expressions. Appealing and immediately accessible, they are drawn in simple, clean lines that recall his early work and painted with a broad palette that ranges from rich russets to soft indigos. The text and art are seamlessly interactive: small figures chase each other around the type; larger illustrations mingle images from several verses. And Sendak's ability to create provocative psychological dimension is in full evidence as well. The sequence illustrating the ubiquitous ``Rain, rain, go away'' is accompanied by a series showing a child's mother gradually transformed into a protective tree; the figure pelted in ``Sticks and stones'' is a skeleton itself. The republication of these rhymes brings the Opies' work full circle; the book seems a satisfying culmination of Sendak's gifts as well. Ages 5-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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