First edition of Swine Lake by James Marshall, Maurice Sendak: The Three Little Pigs meet Swan Lake, in which the wolf attends the Boarshoi Ballet, intending to eat it, and is never the same.
Written by James Marshall, illustrated by Maurce Sendak. 1999, stated first edition. Michael di Capua Books, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers.
Bravo! Marshall narrates a very different version of The Three Little Pigs, in which a city of sophisticated, cosmopolitan pigs – artist pigs, society pigs, glitterati pigs, wealthy hogs – attend the opening night of Swine Lake. The mangy, very hungry wolf finds himself in front of the theater, shocked and dazzled by the porcine smorgasbord, and plots to get inside and eat his fill. Providence pulls up in front of the theater in a limousine, waiving unused tickets, and the wolf snatches them and makes his way to balcony seats. The performance begins and the ballet dancing pigs leap onto the stage, and for a moment the wolf is immobilized by his choices. He settles down and waits for his moment, but by the time it arrives he’s so engrossed in the story of the bride, the groom, and the monster, that his hunger vanishes. The wolf attends a second performance, not to eat his fill of dancing pigs, but to join their dance troupe.
Enjoy the word play and satire. Reading the paper over the Wolf’s shoulder, we see the headline “McMansions All Fall Down” in The Daily Bacon. As he walks the streets, he passes Ferkel’s Schweinerei, the Hotel Schwein, and the Porco restaurant. At the New Hamsterdam Theater, the marquee announces Swine Lake, the New York Times review blares “Pigs Do Fly!”, and the sandwich board features ballerina La Grande Cochonette. Primary dancers are Monsieur Franche de Lard, Odile Chitterlings, The Trotters Brothers, and Pieds De Cochon. A poster of prima ballerina Odette Sowskaya looms large. (Reading over the shoulder of a pig in the audience, a headline reads, “The Stupids Die!”, a reference to characters Marshall created.)
James Edward Marshall is the creator of George & Martha, Miss Nelson, a.k.a. Miss Viola Swamp, the Fox series, The Stupids, and The Cut-Ups. He won the Caldecott Medal in 1989 for Goldilocks and The Three Bears. In 2007 he was posthumously awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award by the American Library Association for his body of work.
His friend Maurice Sendak wrote in the introduction to the George & Martha collection:
“Marshall is the last of a long line of masters that began in the late 19th century with the preeminent English illustrator Randolph Caldecott; then continued in our century with Jean de Brunhoff in France and Edward Ardizzone in England; and then via Tomi Ungerer arrived full blast in America, where the laurel leaf settled finally, splendidly, on the judicious, humane, witty, and astonishingly clever head of James Marshall.”
New York Times on James (Edward) Marshall: Goo.gl/3gf8R5
Maurice Sendak, the only American to be awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Award for illustration, illustrated the Little Bear series, Where The Wild Things Are, In The Night Kitchen, Outside Over There, and many other children’s books. He also created the scenery for theatrical productions, including Brundibar and Nutcracker (which you’ll find at The Charmed Bookshop).
To learn more about Maurice Sendak: Goo.gl/5jjBCY
Condition*: Near fine/Near fine. The dust jacket shows minor shelf wear and barely visible sunning on the back, along the top edge.
*Based on guidelines from the Independent Online Booksellers’ Association.