An uplifting and hugely entertaining collection of playground rhymes, edited by Iona and Peter Opie, leading authorities on children's rhymes, and with artwork by perhaps the world's most influential picture book illustrator, Maurice Sendak.
In print again twenty years after it was first published, I saw Esau is a wonderful pocket book collection of over 170 playground rhymes, some of them hundreds of years old. From nonsense to riddles, retaliation rhymes to insults, the chants of schoolchildren across the centuries are revived in this joyful celebration of life and laughter. Sendak's boisterous illustrations revel in the fun, mischief and rebelliousness of childhood, and, as Iona Opie recognises in her wonderful introduction, much of the book's charm comes from its sense of the extraordinary indomitable spirit of children: "In Maurice Sendak's pictures the child always wins".
Iona and Peter Opie were married in 1943 and worked together for nearly forty years, studying and writing about children's lore and literature, until Peter's death in 1982. Their books together include The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes and The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren. Iona has also edited two nursery rhyme collections for Walker Books, My Very First Mother Goose and Here Comes Mother Goose (illustrated by Rosemary Wells). Maurice Sendak has created texts and illustrations for more than eighty books, which have sold millions of copies around the world. He has won numerous awards, including a Caldecott Medal for Where the Wild Things Are, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award for his body of work. He lives in New England.