by Tony Kushner
illustrated by Maurice Sendak
This book is based on a Czech opera of the same name ("brundibar" is Czech slang for "bumblebee"), with a libretto by Adolph Hoffmeister, set to music by Hans Krasa. Completed in 1938, the opera was performed fifty-five times by the children of Terezin, the Nazi concentration camp. It tells the story of a brother and sister sent to fetch milk for their sick mother. Since they have no money, they attempt to sing for spare change, only to be drowned out by Brundibar and the horrific music of his hurdy-gurdy. Befriended by three intelligent animals and 300 helpful children, they are able to sing for the money, defeat the bully and triumphantly return home. The illustrations are by Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are.