Maurice Sendak (of Where The Wild Things Are fame) and Ruth Krauss, collaborated on six books starting with the 1952 'A Hole is to Dig'. Maurice Sendak, then an upcoming illustrator recalls his formidable editor at Harper and Row Ursula Nordstrom " gave me to Ruth Krauss".Ruth Krauss is only considered the genius of children's books. She reinvented the children's books genre and along with it how Maurice drew. Sendak then in his twenties says that thanks to his upbringing he tended to draw stereotypes.
"When I drew girls doing girl things and boys doing boy things, she went bananas".
Ruth's own modern and elegant mind refused to indulge in gender stereotyping of any sort, especially in her own books.Rarely will a book knock your socks or sandals off, as does the A Hole is to Dig. This book showcases a collaboration of two creative minds.Increasingly as I write for Little Kulture I find the books, music, and art of the highest standards does not prompt you into verbose outpourings but rather retreat into an introspective silence.
Far Left: Maurice Sendak; Bottom right: Ruth Krauss; Panels from the book A hole is to dig
A Hole is to Dig is simple and profound. A child who reads it will find resonance with his own thoughts. It appears as if the author were sitting in a lawn and discussing the truths of what it is that a thing can do. The illustrations of Sendak will make you smile and go back time and again to smile again.
..Buttons are to keep people warm
The world is so you have something to stand on
The sun is to tell you when it's everyday
When you make a bed you get a star
Little stones are for children to gather up and put in piles.
Oo! A rock is when you trip on it you should have watched
where you were going
Children are to love
A brother is to help you
A principal is to take out splinters..
A Hole is to Dig is termed by Krauss as A First Book of First Definitions and it is. Definitions to go through life with, a journal to helps better understand the nature of things as they are.