Making MischiefTitle: Making Mischief: A Maurice Sendak Appreciation
Author: Gregory Maguire
Pages: 200 pages
Publisher/Date: William Morrow, c2009.

“I won’t attempt to name Sendak’s theme. I will look at the body of his work casually, colloquially, admiringly, from several different approaches in order to show you what I see, and why I think the word genius isn’t grade inflation.” (4)

If you’re looking for a comprehensive, unbiased review and critique of Sendak’s work, you won’t find it here. Author Gregory Maguire, of Wicked fame, sets out to show the world his long withheld appreciation of the work of Maurice Sendak. In Making Mischief, Maguire compares his art not only against other works of his own art, but also to such classics as William Blake and Chuck Jones and lesser known artists like Iona and Peter Opie and William Nicholson. While people familiar with art will probably get the most out of this book, the last chapters are the ones I found the most enjoyable. In chapter three, Maguire showcases the four popular categories (flying, reading, children, and monsters) that are noticably recurring in Maurice Sendak’s works. As an English major in college, I’m familiar with the idea of recuring motifs, and appreciated Maguire’s organization that made it easy to compare illustrations. In chapter four, Maguire picks his top ten pictures from Sendak’s body of work. With each picture, Maguire goes into more detail analyzing Sendak’s use of space, allignment, and color. Finally, and probably the most eye-opening, is chapter five, which collects a hodge podge of Sendak’s illustrations to retell the Caldecot winning story of Where the Wild Things Are. Fans of Sendak will be interested in the title, but references to other works of art are lost on the uninformed, even when the work in question is provided. Citations alongside the artwork would have helped the reader tremendously, especially for readers unfamiliar with Sendak’s complete body of work and the obscure artists used for comparison, although the accompanying credits are beneficial for those looking for other information.