Maurice Sendak's last work honors his brother

Sendak's posthumous 'My Brother's Book,' follows two brothers, Guy and Jack, who are separated.

Mary Altaffer/AP
Maurice Sendak is the author of 'Where the Wild Things Are,' 'In the Night Kitchen' and many other books.

A picture book by children’s literature legend Maurice Sendak, titled “My Brother’s Book,” will be released on Feb. 5.

Sendak, who died this past May, served as illustrator on two books by his older brother, Jack. “My Brother’s Book” follows two brothers, one named Jack and one named Guy, who are separated by a burning star and hurled to separate places. Jack goes to a land covered in ice and Guy to the home of a bear, who attacks him. When the bear is enraged by Guy and throws him away, Guy lands near his brother and the two are reunited.

Sendak’s friend, the playwright Tony Kushner, said the author originally wrote the book in the 1990s but that near the end of his life, he began mulling over his legacy.

“He was putting a lot of pressure on himself to make a masterpiece at the end,” Kushner said in an interview with the Associated Press. “I’d say, ‘Maurice, you’re making it too hard on yourself. If you keep telling yourself it has to be the greatest thing you’ve ever done you’ll never do it.’”

Kushner said he believes ““My Brother’s Book” is a tribute to everyone who loved Sendak, including his readers.

“It has the logic of a dream,” Kushner said of the book in an interview with NPR. “I really feel that in a way, it's a book that he intended for those of us who grew up reading Maurice and who loved his work. It's a kind of a farewell for us.”

Vanity Fair has an exclusive look at the book – check it out here.

Sendak is perhaps best remembered for his children's book "Where the Wild Things Are." He wrote and illustrated many other beloved titles, including "In the Night Kitchen."

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