Martze - Jack Sendak, illus. Mitchell Miller

On the gate was printed: Garonce Bids You Welcome. It looked so inviting that Martze went in. There stood Garonce, the fiercest, meanest-looking dog he had ever seen.

I came across this odd little book at the library and was intrigued, largely because I'd never heard of Jack Sendak before. (According to Wikipedia, he's Maurice's brother.) It's an old book, copyright 1968, and doesn't actually have an ISBN on it (although apparently it's been republished since then). This one contains illustrations which are, according to the dust jacket, "the first published work by twenty-year-old Mitchell Miller." They're sort of faint-looking pencil drawings, in which the characters all have a sort of bored expression, whether they're running from a collapsing tower or riding a giant's shoulders into the ocean.

The story itself is short and bizarre: the boy Martze, when a storm stops soon after he tells it to, is convinced that he is a real magician. But his magic fails to work on the boys who laugh at him, so he decides he needs to find a different town in which to work his magic. On the way he finds a captive giant, a king of a cardboard town, and a place where no children live. It's hard to describe, but has sort of the feel of some Eastern European folk tale, kind of meandering from one strange scenario to the next.

Anyway, since this Sendak was apparently never as wildly popular as his little brother, you may have trouble finding this book. It's got an odd sense of humor which I think some will appreciate but will leave others just scratching their heads.

Fed to jonathan's brain | April 23, 2008 | Comments (2)


I love this book. As a child I had a copy of it recorded on a 12 inch album. As a child my mind would wonder as the album told the incredible, at time very sad story of this little boy. After years of searching in vain (because I did not know the author) I have finally found it . What a great day!

Posted by: jenifer mindel at October 31, 2008 08:24 AM

I, too, as Jenifer, had the book and album. As a young child, it was my very favorite story. As an eternal optimus, I found the depressing story foreign and thrilling. I still have the book, on a shelf in my living room dedicated to my favorites. I reread it now and then, and the meaning is still just beyond my grasp. I think this is why the story is still powerful for me. I am still so sad when the little bird dies...

Posted by: Denise at August 9, 2009 01:50 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?