Kenny's Window

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Overview

Kenny dreams of a fabulous land where he would like to live always, and in his search for it discovers many things about himself and about growing up. 'An unusual, imaginative story . . . in which reality blends with make-believe.' —SLJ.

1956 Children's Spring Book Festival Honor Book (NY Herald Tribune)

Kenny wakes up one night remembering the magical garden he's been dreaming about. A rooster gives him seven questions to answer,...

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Overview

Kenny dreams of a fabulous land where he would like to live always, and in his search for it discovers many things about himself and about growing up. 'An unusual, imaginative story . . . in which reality blends with make-believe.' —SLJ.

1956 Children's Spring Book Festival Honor Book (NY Herald Tribune)

Kenny wakes up one night remembering the magical garden he's been dreaming about. A rooster gives him seven questions to answer, which stimulates him into awareness and maturity. He realizes that it is not necessary to discard a dream or hope because it cannot be achieved at the moment.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
HarperCollins's reissue of Maurice Sendak's oeuvre continues with four more titles. Published in 1956, Kenny's Window follows the adventures of a boy living out his fantasies from the confines of his bedroom. His window provides a magic portal as he strives to answer seven questions posed to him in a dream. The Sign on Rosie's Door (1960) invites readers into the girl's imaginative world, where three knocks reveal her secret: "I'm not Rosie any more," she says. "I'm Alinda, the lovely lady singer." A quartet of neighborhood pals quickly gets in on the act. ( Mar.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
In looking back over Sendak's body of work, it is readily apparent that dreams play a key role in his books. Dreams are the entryway into the psyche and it is there Sendak's fascination lies. In this book, the first that he both wrote and illustrated himself, Sendak spins a story of a young boy who awakes from a dream that he is unable to forget. In it, a four-legged rooster has approached him and promised him anything he wants if he can answer seven questions. Accepting this quest, Kenny begins to try and answer these elusive questions and, in the process, learns some things about himself and growing up. He understands that his wishes must not come to him immediately but that he can wait for them to happen. By today's standards, the text seems overly long and somewhat convoluted. The pen and ink drawings seem bland and unexciting in comparison to his renowned later works, Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen. Nevertheless, when viewed as the initial book in his wide body of work, it takes on a new significance. Here we can see the genesis of Sendak' artistic style and his use of the dream metaphor to explore growth. While this book may not attract young readers who are used to shorter more brilliantly illustrated picture books, those of us who admire Sendak's work will want to add this to our collections. 2004 (orig. 1956), HarperCollins, Ages 5 to 8.
—Joan Kindig, Ph.D.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780064432092
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Series: Trophy Picture Bks.
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 992,813
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 570L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 7.46 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Maurice Sendak

In addition to Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak's books include Kenny's Window, Very Far Away, The Sign on Rosie's Door, Nutshell Library (consisting of Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Pierre), Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, and Bumble-Ardy.

He received the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are; the 1970 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration; the 1983 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, given by the American Library Association in recognition of his entire body of work; and a 1996 National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contribution to the arts in America. In 2003, he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children's literature established by the Swedish government.

In addition to Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak's books include Kenny's Window, Very Far Away, The Sign on Rosie's Door, Nutshell Library (consisting of Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Pierre), Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More to Life, In the Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy, and Bumble-Ardy.

He received the 1964 Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are; the 1970 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration; the 1983 Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, given by the American Library Association in recognition of his entire body of work; and a 1996 National Medal of Arts in recognition of his contribution to the arts in America. In 2003, he received the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, an international prize for children's literature established by the Swedish government.

Biography

"I never wrote a book where I taught a lesson," Maurice Sendak once bragged in an interview. Fans of his lyrical, lushly illustrated picture books know Sendak has a far more important mission. Rather than instructing his young readers in proper manners, the man who's been called "the Picasso of children's books" has been a vital, expressive voice for children's feelings.

Sendak first honed his art as an illustrator for writers like Ruth Krauss and Else Holmelund Minarek. He explored different styles of drawing and painting, influenced by sources as diverse as William Blake, Randolph Caldecott and Walt Disney.

In the '50s and early '60s, Sendak began to write his own books, and to forge his own distinctive visual style. The most popular of the works produced in what he later called his "apprenticeship period" was The Nutshell Library, a collection of four tiny books (2 1/2 by 4 inches wide) that was instantly and enduringly popular.

His first mature work, Where the Wild Things Are (1963), was a watershed both in Sendak's career and the history of children's literature. It tells the story of a boy named Max, whose mother sends him to his room without supper, calling him a "wild thing." Max makes an imaginary journey to a land of monsters, where he's crowned King of All Wild Things. But his longing for comfort and security return him at last to his room, where he finds his supper waiting for him. Some adults were dismayed by the book's ferocious-looking monsters and its belligerent young hero. "It is not a book to be left where a sensitive child may come upon it at twilight," one librarian cautioned.

Despite the warnings, Where the Wild Things Are was a huge commercial success, and was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal in 1964. In his acceptance speech, Sendak seemed to address his critics when he said that despite adults' desires to protect children from "painful experiences," the fact is "that from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, that fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, that they continually cope with frustration as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things."

In the following years, Sendak illustrated dozens of books, and wrote and illustrated several more of his own, including In the Night Kitchen (1970) and Outside Over There (1981), which he considered to be the second and third parts of a trilogy that began with Where the Wild Things Are. A lover of theatre, he has also designed and produced numerous operas, plays and ballets.

Though his work has sometimes been controversial, Sendak is now renowned for his ability to recall, depict and transform the painful realities of childhood into what John Gardner, reviewing one of Sendak's books, called "not an ordinary children's book done extraordinarily well, but something different in kind from an ordinary children's book: a profound work of art for children."

Good To Know

In 1948, Maurice Sendak and his brother Jack took six model toys to the toy store F.A.O. Schwarz, which they hoped would commission a set. The store turned down the toys, but offered Maurice a job as a window display designer, which he took.

Sendak wrote Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or, There Must Be More to Life, in tribute to his beloved dog. The book's protagonist, like Sendak's pet, is a Sealyham terrier named Jennie. Years later, Sendak got a German shepherd, who already had a name when he adopted it. The dog was named Max, just like Sendak's most famous character.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Maurice Bernard Sendak (full name)
    2. Hometown:
      Ridgefield, Connecticut
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 10, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      Art Students' League

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2008

    Everyone should read this...

    I have rarely read a book that moved me as this book did. I first read it to my son in 1978. I had the recording of Tammy Grimes reading it also. I just purchased a copy of the recording and a copy of the book for each of my children as a 'grown up' gift. They were well pleased. You will not regret reading this to your children. It is a most special expression of feelings and thoughts.

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