If Maurice Sendak had sat in his office one day and pondered to himself, "I should like to stretch my artistic muscles a little", he could not have come up with anything better than the eerie "Outside Over There". The plot is a classic one. Big sister Ida cares for her little baby sister while her father is a way and her mother pines in the arbor. When goblins steal the baby for their bride, it's up to Ida to go outside over there and get her sister back.
For those of you who thought Maurice Sendak made, "Where the Wild Things Are" and then just stopped, you are in for a surprise. This book is a fantastic series of images, exhibiting beautifully a young girl's love for her sibling. Sometimes thought to be the inspiration for the movie Labyrinth (not true: the book "Labyrinth" by A. C. H. Smith was the real basis), the book is beautiful in a way that simultaneously enchants and disturbs. For example, the hooded goblins are nothing more than babies themselves, and clever Ida finds a way to make them dance to their death. The changeling exchanged for Ida's sibling is an eerie ice statue, the most Sendakian image in this entire book. As for the pictures as a whole, the author has excused himself from his previous cartoonish style. The people pictured in this book are strikingly realistic, and they display emotion beautifully. The tender scenes between Ida and her little sister are touching.
This is not a book for everyone. But then, many of Sendak's books are not for everyone. To be a fan of the works of Maurice Sendak is to be comfortable with a certain amount nudity and oddity. Just the same, there are so many things to like about this book that I'd be sad to turn anyone away from it. I'll say this. You will never find its twin. This original piece of work is filled to the brim with interest and imagination, such as you will have a great deal of difficulty finding elsewhere.