Maurice Sendak Almost Illustrated The Hobbit



In the 1960s, the prominence of The Lord of the Rings series was rising, so the publisher of The Hobbit decided to release a 30th anniversary edition. Maurice Sendak, the children's author and illustrator most famous for Where the Wild Things Are, was among the artists considered to illustrate The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien looked at samples that Sendak had submitted, including the one above, and promptly rejected him:

As Sendak noted passages for possible illustration and sketched in the margins of his copy of the book, the publisher prepared the art samples for Tolkien’s approval. The editor mislabeled the samples, however, identifying the wood-elves as “hobbits,” as Sendak recalled to Maguire. This blunder nettled Tolkien. His reply was that Sendak had not read the book closely and did not know what a hobbit was. Consequently, Tolkien did not approve the drawings. Sendak was furious.


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