It’s been five years since his death, and Maurice Sendak is back to transport readers to yet another magical world. That’s right. According to Publisher’s Weekly, an unpublished manuscript from the genius behind Where the Wild Things Are has been discovered in the author’s archives.
The lost work, which is titled Presto and Zesto in Limboland, is a collaboration between Sendak and his friend and fellow children’s book author Arthur Yorinks. Publisher’s Weekly reports that the typewritten manuscript for the forgotten book was accidentally unearthed two years ago by the president of his Maurice Sendak Foundation, Lynn Caponera. Caponera, who worked as the author’s caretaker for four decades, was sorting through Sendak’s files when she came across it. She was unfamiliar with the title, so she scanned the manuscript and e-mailed it to his longtime editor and publisher, Michael di Capua.
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“I read it in disbelief,” di Capua told Publisher’s Weekly. “What a miracle to find this buried treasure in the archives. To think something as good as this has been lying around there gathering dust.”
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Sendak originally drew the 10 illustrations in the book for the London Symphony Orchestra‘s 1990 performance of Leoš Janáček’s Rikadla, a 1927 composition based on outlandish Czech nursery rhymes. Yorinks loved the artwork, and in 2000 he convinced his friend to let them work on turning them into a book. In the beginning, Yonkis told CNN it was all just a bit of fun. "But that ended up turning into a real narrative, to our surprise," he added.
The narrative that began to take shape drew heavily on their longtime friendship. “It was a hysterical afternoon of cracking each other up,” Yorinks recalled to CNN. “But after a few hours, a narrative thread began to coagulate. The story became an homage to our own friendship so we named the characters after ourselves—Presto and Zesto,” he added, referencing the authors’ nicknames for each other.
They finished the manuscript, and sadly, they forgot about it Yorinks says. Then in 2012, Sendak died. Years later, Yorinks told CNN he was in “total joy” when Caponera unearthed the story. "I not only got to remember those days and remember our friendship, but it was a book that even when we first created it, we knew that it was worthy to be published," he said.
Presto and Zesto in Limboland is set to be published by Michael di Capua Books/HarperCollins in fall of 2018