Lost Maurice Sendak Book Uncovered From the Author’s Archives

Spencer Platt / Staff / Getty Images
Spencer Platt / Staff / Getty Images / Spencer Platt / Staff / Getty Images

Kids and kids-at-heart who enjoy the works of children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak have a new title to add to their wish lists. After sitting unnoticed in his archives for years, a newly discovered picture book from the late author will be published for the first time in fall 2018, Publisher’s Weekly reports.

The manuscript, titled Presto and Zesto in Limboland, was co-authored by Sendak’s writing partner Arthur Yorinks. It’s accompanied by a set of illustrations the Where the Wild Things Are author originally drew for a 1990 performance of composer Leoš Janáček’s Rikadla, a composition that pairs Czech nursery rhymes with music. The pictures were shelved after that one-time event, only to be revisited by Sendak and Yorinks years later. Inspired by what they found, the duo got to work writing an original story to go with the illustrations while borrowing elements from their friendship (Presto was Sendak’s nickname for Yorinks, and Zesto was Yorinks’s for Sendak).

The book was completed, but new projects that surfaced in the writers' lives distracted them from doing anything with it. When Maurice Sendak died in 2012, Presto and Zesto in Limboland remained unpublished.

Last year, Lynn Caponera, Sendak’s longtime friend and current president of the Maurice Sendak Foundation, stumbled upon the work in the author’s archives. She sent the book to his former editor, Michael di Capua, who then got in touch with Yorinks. The co-author enthusiastically agreed to have the book published and do some minor edits before its release next year. The book will mark the third published collaboration from the partners, joining 1995’s The Miami Giant and 2006’s Mommy?.

[h/t Publisher’s Weekly]