Mischief of One Kind and Another…Original Artwork by Maurice Sendak Coming to the TD Gallery

December 3, 2015 | Nicole

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The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another…”

So begins one of the most beloved children’s books of all time, Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. Now, just over 50 years since it was first published, the book continues to delight and inspire readers of all ages. 

Max, watercolour and ink, circa late 1960s. © Maurice Sendak: All Rights Reserved


This December, Toronto Public Library is pleased to present an exhibition of original artwork by Maurice Sendak (1928-2012). Maurice Sendak: 50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons will be on display in the TD Gallery at the Toronto Reference Library from December 19 to January 31.

Sendak fans will be able to see more than 50 works spanning his acclaimed career, including sketches, illustrations and works on paper.

Set designs for Where the Wild Things Are opera, watercolour, 1979. © Maurice Sendak: All Rights Reserved

The exhibition also features original artwork and signed prints from the Toronto Public Library’s Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, including the original pen-and-ink drawing of a gryphon that Sendak drew for, and now serves as a symbol of, the Osborne Collection.

Gryphon drawn for The Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books, Toronto Public Library, pen and ink on paper, 1979

There will be lots of fun, free activities to keep little wild things out of mischief over the holidays. Kids will be able to come aboard a reconstruction of Max's boat and imagine the journey to where the wild things are. They can craft a plasticine wild thing along with award-winning children’s author and illustrator Barbara Reid (Registration required). Preschoolers and their caregivers will also enjoy Sendak-inspired songs and stories in the TD Gallery. 

You can find out all of the details about the exhibition, guided tours, and programs

For those who want to dig a bit deeper into the legacy of Sendak and the artists and innovators who inspired him, be sure to also visit, Let the Wild Rumpus Start: Celebrating Maurice Sendak, a complimentary exhibit on display in the reading room of the Osborne Collection of Early Children’s Books at the Lillian H. Smith branch.


Check out some of our favourite books written, illustrated, or inspired by the late, great Maurice Sendak.

Books by Maurice Sendak

  1963 Where the Wild Things Are 1962 Nutshell Library 1970 In the Night-Kitchen

Where the Wild Things Are

Iconic contemporary classic. Sent for time out in his room, Max goes to the kingdom of the wild things where he becomes king. 1964 Caldecott Medal.

Nutshell Library. One was Johnny. Alligators All Around. Pierre. Chicken Soup with Rice.

Before board books, small children carried around books from the Nutshell Library. They had funny counting and alphabet rhymes, goofy pictures of alligators ordering oatmeal, and the dangers of saying “I don’t care” too often. Plenty of nonsense and silly fun.

In the Night Kitchen

Influenced by Mickey Mouse and his love for New York City, Sendak creates a dream of a boy falling into cake batter and through other adventures before being dumped back into bed. 1971 Caldecott Honor Book.


Books illustrated by Maurice Sendak

  1962 Mr Rabbit and the Lovely Present   The Moon Jumpers   Little Bear

Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow

Like Sendak, Zolotow listens carefully to children and takes their problems seriously. A little girl needs Mr. Rabbit’s help to find a birthday gift for her mother. Mr. Rabbit, sitting in soft, muted landscapes, helps her sort it out. 1963 Caldecott Honor Book.

The Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry

In memory of your childhood, you know that you cannot come in early on a summer’s night. You’re the Moon Jumpers! You have to be outside with the cat, the frogs, the owl and the moon, dancing barefoot through luminous shaded yards. Sendak’s beautiful illustrations encompass the dreamy feeling of such nights. 1960 Caldecott Honor Book.

Little Bear by Elsie Minarik

Does Little Bear have to make his own birthday soup or does he get a cake? An I Can Read book which Sendak illustrates with a patient Mama Bear, and her playful Little Bear.


Inspired by Sendak

Check out other books in the Sendak tradition of great stories full of imagination, strong characters and illustrations – sometimes with splendid colour, other times monochromatic with inked details.

  Visitor for bear Nana in the City Stella Fairy of the Forest

A Visitor for Bear by Bonnie Becker

A mouse, “small, gray and bright-eyed,” steps into Bear’s home and your heart. He wants to stay for a cup of tea but Bear does not allow visitors. Will persistence win? E.B. White Read Aloud Award.

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

A red magic cape, made by Nana, will help the small boy be brave in a city that is loud, busy, and filled with scary things. A story that Sendak would love. 2015 Caldecott Honor Book.

Stella, Fairy of the Forest by Marie Louise Gay

Stella’s little brother Sam is always asking questions. Stella usually has an answer. Yellow butterflies eat butter. “Then I guess blue butterflies eat pieces of sky,” said Sam. All Stella and Sam books are painted with imagination and glorious watercolours.

Owen Goldilocks and the Three Bears Me...Jane

Owen by Kevin Henkes

Owen is determined to take his blanket Fuzzy to school. After several tries, his mother comes up with a “wonderful, positively perfect, especially terrific idea.” Check out Henke’s characters in other books: Lily; Wemberly; Sheila Rae; Chrysanthemum; etc. 1994 Caldecott Honor Book.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall

“Patooie! This porridge is scalding!” Between the exaggerated expressions and the colourful cartoons, we know we are off for a hilarious rendition of the three bears, who are mightily perturbed to find their home invaded by a devious little girl. 1989 Caldecott Honor Book.

Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell

Be surprised at the ending of a dream which became true. Preschoolers who love animals will relate to the story of a girl and her toy gorilla. 2012 Caldecott Honor Book.

  How to  Doctor DeS oto There is a Bird on your head

How to by Julie Morstad

How to see the wind? Fly a kite. How to feel the breeze? Ride a bike. A stunning, magical picture book with spare prose. 2014 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award.

Doctor De Soto by William Steig

Skillful mouse dentist, Dr. De Soto, assisted by his wife, will not treat dangerous animals. However, they decide to help a suffering fox. Will they be eaten or will they outwit him? Newberry Honor Book. 1983 National Book Award for Children’s Books.

There is a Bird on Your Head! By Mo Willems

Elephant starts out with one bird on his head, but it gets worse. Giggle along as Piggie tries to help. 2008 Theodore Seuss Geisel Award.