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My Brother's Book

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3.67  ·  Rating details ·  1,428 ratings  ·  214 reviews
Fifty years after Where the Wild Things Are was published comes the last book Maurice Sendak completed before his death in May 2012, My Brother's Book. With influences from Shakespeare and William Blake, Sendak pays homage to his late brother, Jack, whom he credited for his passion for writing and drawing. Pairing Sendak's poignant poetry with his exquisite and dramatic ar ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 5th 2013 by HarperCollins (first published 2013)
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Average rating 3.67  · 
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Adam
Feb 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of the greatest interviews I've ever seen took place only a few years ago between Maurice Sendak and Stephen Colbert for the latter's television show. Broadcast over two nights--three if you include clips broadcast the night after Sendak's death--the interview was noteworthy for more than a few reasons, the most important being the similarities both men shared. Yes, they were separated by decades--Sendak was in his 80s at the time and visibly ill, while Colbert was in his forties--as well as ...more
Mir
Jul 24, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture
This was a strange, sad, poetic story about fraternal love and loss.

No idea what algorithm produces How Loathsome (which appears to be about a "gender outlaw," whatever that is, at an S&M party) as a you-may-also-like recommendation.
...more
David Schaafsma
Nov 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is Sendak's last book, and for those of us who are aging, maybe it's his most powerful and moving, like nothing else, in many ways, than he had done before, as far as I know. It's a children's book in the way that Blake's Songs of Innocence is a children's book, essentially about life-long grief and longing to see again his brother, who died when he was young. It's very complex, something that is more all ages, like those old Warners Brothers cartoons that you can enjoy at 7 and in a differ ...more
Kitty
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations owe a deep debt of gratitude to Blake. Stylistically this is the furthest departure from anything he had done previously. (On a more personal note they reminded me a lot of the type of illustration my own grandmother tended to gravitate towards at the end of her life.) There is a beautiful sense of the infinite displayed in a frame of the finite.

Prose wise I suppose at this point everyone must know it's roots are firmly planted in the land of Shakespeare, being perhaps the most
...more
Ari Berk
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is a spell of longing. Don't believe those who say "it's not for children." Poetry is for everyone, and especially those who like to discuss ideas, artistic expressions and sincerity. I could easily see this book being the basis of a very meaningful discussion between parents and children about death and how we miss those we're parted from. Or a conversation about how writers and artists "converse" with each other through their works (ie, Sendak's visual references to Blake or textual ...more
Juliet
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you loved Maurice Sendak, or hold one/many of his stories dear, read this book. It will take you five minutes (on your first run-through.) Then, you might think, "Huh?" The next day, you'll read it aloud, twice. Maybe read a more thorough review or article about it and find you appreciate it more. It is a love poem, a eulogy and Sendak's sad, lovely finale.
Noah
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-reviewed
Meh. If I read a study guide of this I might have enjoyed it more - indeed, I noticed I liked reading about it (on an NPR review, I think) more than actually reading it. For me there just wasn't much to it. Which I feel bad saying.
Monica Edinger
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous and heartbreaking.
Cheryl
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
An artistic book for all ages of those who are into the weird & metaphysical & symbolic... which leaves out me and most children. My library had it shelved as poetry, at least, but in Juvenile... I think it befuddles catalogers. ...more
Paul
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Damn, somebody loved William Blake
C. S.
Extra star because pretty pictures at least?
Betsy
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My Brother's Book by Maurice Sendak

Lovely, Sorrowful, Poignant, Bittersweet...

This is one of those books that will stay with you long after you put it down. The illustrations are gorgeous and Sendak's poem to his brother Jack is both heartbreakingly beautiful and comforting "And Jack slept safe, enfolded in his brother's arms. And Guy whispered, "Good night..."

It's impossible not to be moved by this book, especially in light of Sendak's recent death. It so perfectly captures the unwavering loss
...more
Ann
Feb 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An amazing last work in the life of a great artist. I had no idea what I was in for when I settled in bed last night and opened this small book. In this tale, a star hits the earth, separates two brothers, Jack (the name of Sendak's real brother, who died in 1995) and Guy, and throws them out of paradise. Jack is sent to a continent of ice ("his poor nose froze") and Guy is sent to soft Bohemia where a polar bear devours him piece by piece. He winds up past paradise where he and Jack are locked ...more
Marcy prager
Feb 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is Maurice Sendak's last book. It is known that his brother and his partner died before it was Maurice's time to go to the other world. Jack was "catapulted" to continents of ice "on a bleak midwinter's night. With the brilliance of Shakespeare mixed with Maurice's own unique way of expression, Jack was taken away and became a "snow ghost," to Maurice's chagrin. As Maurice's time came near to reunite with his loved ones, especially his brother Jack, he whispers a riddle to a bear, and like ...more
Tomiko
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I'm not familiar with A Winter's Tale, but I definitely see the William Blake influence in this book, not only in the illustrations but also in the meter of the opening lines, if I remember correctly. I don't have the book in hand to compare since there's a long waiting list for this book at my library. Isn't that a lovely thought, a big demand for poetry in my community? Anyways, I snuck a read at the end of my shift as it was sent to another location for another reader.
Linda Lipko
What a lovely gem of a book. In a short number of pages, Sendak painted images and wove a rich tapestry of poetic work.

A song to his brother Jack and Eugene Glynn, his partner of 50 years, it is a haunting poem of life that transcends death. Of love that shines through the veil of darkness. Death, frozen in icy cold transcends to warmth of love that knows no boundaries.

This was Sendak's last book and it is powerful.
Cynthia Egbert
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library
This is not a work that everyone is going to love but I do, oh, I do. But then again, if you have the influence of Shakespeare (especially Winter's Tale) and Blake, you know I am going to love this one. It filled me with melancholy but that is not a bad thing. This is the perfect "last book" for Sendak and I believe that his reunion with his brother was incredible.
Juushika
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dense, dreamy, and inaccessible; also intuitive and heartfelt, mythologizing the ineffability of grief. This was for me more emotional for its posthumous status and its focus on death than for the text itself, because it doesn't resonate with my conceptions of loss--these aren't my metaphors. But it's one of those quietly demanding books that gives back whatever effort the reader puts in. I liked it more on reread; I like it even more now, a few days later.
K
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: illustrated, poetry
I loved Where the Wild Things Are as a child and still do as an adult. I think part of my problem in my approach to this book was that I really wanted it to be just like Where the Wild Things and it's not. This is a grown-up book for those of us who love Sendak. This is a book for the wild things who have, or are expecting to have someday, little wild things of their own, or who can only look back on their days of wild thingness with nostalgia. This is a story of love that is hard and deep a ...more
jess
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
I hate to discount all of my feelings and opinions because I'm feeling really emotional and hormonal (due to pregnancy) but I kind of cried over this book in a boo-hoo way that I might not have under normal circumstances. And then I read it through several times in a row. Before I read the book, I read this and then I read it again afterwards. it's good and really helped me to contextualize My Brother's Book.

I also found that this book is about 20x better if you read it out loud. Several times.
...more
Sarah
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Much more brief than I expected, and beautifully illustrated. It left me with Feelings, but mostly just of a sad and beautiful goodbye - nothing I can elaborate on very much. It references Shakespeare and Blake, and my understanding of those connections is limited, but I still appreciated it. It's an elegy, and it's very Sendak, and so...the Feelings. I have them. I will read it again before I return it to the library, just to absorb it better.
Rebecca
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
If you heard Sendak's interviews before he died (Fresh Air, Colbert), you know of the great sadness he felt at loved ones passing before him, particularly his brother and his partner. This book is an elegy for them -- a sad, poetic book with illustrations reminiscent of William Blake and words echoing Shakespeare. I particularly like the image on p. 21.

"It's the kind of fairytale a grieving child tells, a lament, a consolation, and a farewell."
Holly
Feb 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A short poem, packed with so much pain, love, and ultimately hope; hope that Guy will be with his brother again. And knowing that this was written by Sendak for his dead brother, Jack, and knowing that Maurice is now gone, too, this made for a very teary read for me on this Monday morning.

Beautiful.
Kris
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: picture-book
Haunting. Not a children's picture book, I know many people out there appreciate it for what it is, a tribute to Sendak's deceased brother, and (probably) the last complete work we'll see from the author/illustrator. I can't think of a child I would hand this to, though. For fans of Sendak, it's a wonderful gift.
pati
I don't see this as a book for children. While children do need to be exposed to poetry at an early age, I think this is a bit too deep for them to appreciate. Just because Maurice Sendak wrote for children doesn't mean that all his books are for children.

That all being said, this is a very beautiful book.
Richard
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
What a strange and beautiful book.

The introduction, which attempts to contextualize the work, is wildly unnecessary. I would almost wonder if it was meant to be ironic, but I know it wasn't.

Otherwise, this is as comfortable and unsettling as fragments of a dream, puzzled over the morning after.
Alane
Apr 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Uncanny how even when I think I am reading something else... BOOM! I'm reading death books.

I thought I had been slipped some acid on this one, but no - just Sendak meets Shakespeare meets Blake.

Odd, odd book. But I had a patient a year ago who cried daily to be reunited with her dead sisters. If only I had known about this then.
Jen
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I know everybody else liked this book. I didn't. The pictures are neat, but very small, and I think the poem could have been put on one page and we could have called it a day. Now, I don't know how involved he was in this posthumously printed book, so maybe not his fault? eh.
Monty
Mar 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I am not good with poetry, so I am sure I missed a lot when I read this really short and last book by Maurice Sendak. The illustrations are amazing. Here is link to some of them. http://www.juxtapoz.com/current/my-br... ...more
Rosa Cline
Sep 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
I could not follow this poem book, nor understand what Mr Sendak was talking about. It is a long poetry book of verses on each page telling the story. I tried to understand and follow but the more I read the more confusing it became.
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Maurice Bernard Sendak was an American writer and illustrator of children's literature who is best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963. An elementary school (from kindergarten to grade five) in North Hollywood, California is named in his honor.

Sendak was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents, and decided to become an illustrator after viewing Wa
...more

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