or There Must Be More To Life
by Maruice Sendak
I saw this one browsing in the library and picked it up. I thought I\’d read it before, but I must have just seen the final panels reproduced elsewhere- the beginning was more or less unfamiliar to me.
The first part is chapter-book style, with full page illustrations. Jennie, a sealyham terrier, has everything she could want in life but feels unsatisfied so she runs away to find adventure. She wants to have a star role in the theater but needs experience. A passing milkman assumes she is the newest nursemaid for a child in a big house nearby- exclaiming one must need experience for the job- so the dog accepts that and does her best to go make the baby eat her dinner. Instead, it\’s the dog who is eating tons of stuff on nearly every page! she does land the theater position in the end, and the final pages show the performance- a silly nursery rhyme about a dog eating a mop. Yeah, what?
Some other things are really odd- the dog talks to a plant and eats all its leaves until it can\’t speak to her anymore (she also later talks to an unhappy tree). The family in the big house moved away, left their baby behind, and then promptly forgot their original address so couldn\’t return to get her. And they keep a lion in their basement to eat the nursemaids who fail at the job (main requirement is getting the baby to eat). A lot of it is just the kind of ridiculousness and skewed logic a child might employ, but I\’m not sure if my kid would find this book amusing, or just plain weird!
Myself, I didn\’t really care for it in the end. But the illustrations, with their detailed pen-and-ink texture, are lovely. They transcend the story.
Rating: 2/5 70 pages, 1967