Lost Maurice Sendak Book Uncovered, Will Be Published Next Year

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A rediscovered Maurice Sendak manuscript—Presto and Zesto in Limboland—is now scheduled for publication in 2018.

Publisher’s Weekly reports that Lynn Caponera of the Maurice Sendak Foundation found the manuscript while sorting through the author’s papers. (Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are, died in 2012.) “What a miracle to find this buried treasure in the archives,” said Sendak’s editor, Michael di Capua.


The book, cowritten with Arthur Yorinks, started out as illustrations for a 1990 London Symphony Orchestra performance of a piece based on Czech nursery rhymes. Yorinks, who also wrote The Miami Giant and Mommy? with Sendak, suggested they’d make a good book. So they laid them out and spent an afternoon “cracking each other up,” until “a narrative thread began to coagulate. The story became an homage to our own friendship so we named the characters after ourselves—Presto and Zesto,” Yorinks explained.

The backstory on those nicknames, by the way, is very good:

Though Yorinks had often visited Sendak at his home in Connecticut, “I only knew where he lived in relation to the train station.” So when Yorinks later moved to Connecticut himself, he called Sendak and said, “‘I think we’re close,’ but Maurice thought I was about a half hour drive away,” Yorinks recalled. “Then I got in the car and I was there in three minutes. When he opened the door he said, ‘Presto!’ That became my nickname.” Yorinks, in turn, dubbed Sendak “Zesto.”

Presto, indeed.

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