I am the mother of a two-year-old. A rambunctious, mischievous but ultimately adorable little girl with Mommy’s nose and Daddy’s  cheeks (and perhaps his predilection for impish behavior and giggling). After many a year solely devoted to decidedly more complex literature, I have spent much of the last two curled in my Grandmother’s old armchair (which is green) with a squirmy lap-warmer doggedly demanding “Read? Read! Again!”. Although I confess that maybe some of her favorites have been discreetly removed from the shelf for the sake of my own sanity, it gives me great pride to have a little one as enthused about reading as I am. It goes without saying that some of the best childhood classics, Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, have been well-loved (complete with sound effects and dance moves in some cases). No young and burgeoning little bug should go without the whimsy that is Maurice Sendak. The Library knows this truth well and now presents his world, in all its fantasy, in a larger-than-life exhibition straight from the pages we have loved for generations. In a Nutshell: The Worlds of Maurice Sendak opens tomorrow, Wednesday, January 4th, at the Louisville Library’s Main branch to the delight of all.
Born in 1928 to Polish immigrant parents, Sendak was raised in Brooklyn in a mixed tradition of both American and European influence. Fascinated with the tattered, old black-and-white photographs of his relatives, Sendak’s mixture of American, Polish and Jewish cultures became both singular and intertwined threads that can be seen in his imaginative creations. Featuring colorful panels, illustrations and dotted with whimsical and ferocious creatures, In a Nutshell explores the themes of heritage and popular culture present in the multitude of stories and illustrations Sendak produced. Savor the whimsy of Sendak’s handiwork and discover the culture and history of influences and family experiences that inspired his work.
In conjunction with the exhibit itself, the Library, and its many branches, will also be hosting various events inspired by Sendak’s stories, including workshops, storytimes, crafts, music and much more. For a full list of wild and fantastical goings-on near you, visit the Maurice Sendak Library Programming List and make plans for a good (and, of course free) magical rumpus. Whether you are two or 62, Sendak’s characters and tales are ageless, as well as timeless and bring out the inquisitive little monster in us all. Stop by the Library during January and February and crack open Nutshell for yourself.
In a Nutshell was organized by the Rosenbach Museum & Library, Philadelphia, and developed by Nextbook, Inc., and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The national tour of the exhibit has been made possible by grants from the Charles H. Revson Foundation, the Righteous Persons Foundation, the David Berg Foundation, and an anonymous donor, with additional support from Tablet Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Life. The exhibit was curated by Patrick Rodgers of the Rosenbach Museum & Library.
Graphic: Courtesy of Louisville Free Public Library website www.lfpl.org