New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1963. First Edition. An excellent copy of what is perhaps the best-loved and most distinguished illustrated children's book of the 20th century, one that the American Institute of Graphic Arts called "the perfect book." Inscribed by Sendak to Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and translator Richard Howard (1929-2022) and his then partner, author and playwright Sanford Friedman (1928-2010). Howard and Sendak both spent time on Fire Island during the 1960s, where Sendak wrote Where the Wild Things Are, and the men were part of a tightly-knit circle of queer authors and artists in New York during that period. By the mid-1970s, Howard and Sendak had drifted apart, though this copy is evidence of a once closer friendship. While erroneously dated (the book was published in November, 1963 – this copy was actually inscribed on January 9, 1964, not 1963), it still remains among the earliest recorded inscriptions in copies of Where the Wild Things Are. The earliest we have traced were all inscribed (likely as holiday gifts) in December, 1963, to illustrator Hilary Knight, Sendak's friend and psychoanalyst Bert Slaff, and to Louise Halsey. Hanrahan A58; Grolier 97 (One Hundred Books Famous in Children's Literature). Item #6525
First Printing. Oblong quarto (25.5cm x 23.75cm); pictorial paper-covered boards and grey cloth backstrip; pictorial endpapers; dustjacket; pp; illus. Inscribed by Sendak on the upper half-title page, surrounding a small drawing of Max: "Jan.9, 63 / For Richard + Sandy / with much affection! Maurice Sendak." Gentle sunning to upper and lower board edges, light wear to spine ends and lower board edges, with minute exposure to one lower corners, and a shallow (1/2 cm) indentation to cloth at lower front joint; contents fresh, with the binding sound; Near Fine. In the correct dustjacket, without the Caldecott Medal sticker on the front panel, priced $3.50 at upper front flap, with lower corner clipped by the publisher, next to a 40-80 / 1163 code; modest wear, sunning, and dust-soil to spine and panels, shallow loss to spine ends, with two closed tears to lower panels closest to the spine, another to upper front joint, and a few small, faint splash marks to lower half of spine (most evident on verso); an unrestored, Very Good example.