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We were saddened this week, as was everyone in publishing, to hear that Maurice Sendak—the author of countless delightfully macabre, unforgettable books—had passed away at the age of 83. The University of Virginia Press is proud to have published two of Sendak's books, both out of print now and prized by collectors—Ten Little Rabbits (1970) and Fantasy Sketches (1981).
Ten Little Rabbits has the simplest of plots. Mino the Magician produces a rabbit from his hat. And another... and another. The ostensible job of this little book (literally little: it measures 2.5" x 3.5") is to teach kids to count to ten. Mino, overrun by rabbits, finally begins making them disappear, until he is back to none. Children could learn to count from ten backwards, a skill particularly handy for blast-offs. This was the Apollo era, after all.