From the legendary imagination of Maurice Sendak—creator of beloved classic Where the Wild Things Are—comes a classic tale of children cleverly overcoming a bully, retold by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner.
Brundibar is based on a 1938 Czech opera for children that was performed fifty-five times by the children of Terezin, the Nazi concentration camp. When Aninku and Pepicek discover one morning that their mother is sick, they rush to town for milk to make her better. Their attempt to earn money by singing is thwarted by a bullying, bellowing hurdy-gurdy grinder, Brundibar, who tyrannizes the town square and chases all other street musicians away. Befriended by three intelligent talking animals and three hundred helpful schoolkids, brother and sister sing for the money to buy the milk, defeat the bully, and triumphantly return home.
"An ambitious picture book that succeeds both as a simple children's story and as a compelling statement against tyranny." —School Library Journal
About the Author
Tony Kushner's plays include "A Bright Room Called Day"; "The Illusion"; "Angels In America, Parts One and Two"; "Slavs!"; "Hydrotaphia"; "Homebody/Kabul"; and adaptations of Goethe's "Stella", Brecht's "The Good Person of Setzuan", and Ansky's "The Dybbuk". His work has been produced at theatres around the United States and in over thirty countries around the world. He is the recipient of the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the 1993 and 1994 Tony Awards for Best Play, among other awards.
Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) remains the most honored children's book artist in history. He received the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild ThingsAre. In 1970 he received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Illustration, in 1983 he received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association, and in 1996 he received a National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contribution to the arts in America. In March 2003, Sendak received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an annual international prize for children's literature established by the Swedish government. His other works include In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, Higglety Pigglety Pop!, and the Nutshell Library (consisting of Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Pierre).
* "Working in colored pencils, crayons and brush pens, Sendak conjures bustling Slavic city streets and effectively juxtaposes innocence and evil in the cherubic visages of the children and Brundibar's ominously hyperbolic facial features (the villain's manicured mustache calls to mind the reigning tyrant of the time).... The story is ultimately one of hope, as the children and their allies band together to defeat the evil foe. The collaborators wisely allow readers to appreciate the story on one level, yet those familiar with the opera's origins (a note on the flap copy tells of Krása's death at Auschwitz) will find a haunting subtext here. All ages."—Publishers Weekly
"The playful language, with occasional rhyme and alliteration, is a perfect match for Sendak's spirited young heroes. The illustrations reflect varied undertones of a powerful story that works on different levels, including many references to the Holocaust.... This is an ambitious picture book that succeeds both as a simple children's story and as a compelling statement against tyranny."—School Library Journal
"The artwork demands repeated looks, with Sendak recalling some familiar characters, such as the chef from In the Night Kitchen, and in kaleidoscopic fashion presenting them in an entirely new design. This is not for casual reading, but children of a variety of ages can be introduced to the story, which, with an adult's help, can be used for edification and discussion."—Booklist