According to the LA Times: “In the late 1960s, Middle-earth enjoyed a renewed interest with the release of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy in paperback. As “The Hobbit” neared its 30th anniversary, the American publisher invited Sendak to reimagine Bilbo Baggins and his classic quest. Caldecott Medal-winning Sendak, though his work could be thorny and at times scary, was nonetheless the darling of children’s publishing that decade. He had the ability to delight the young as he balanced the light and dark in titles from “Pierre” to his pièce de résistance, “Where the Wild Things Are.” Sendak understood not only the physical hurdles that a story’s character faces but the psychological ones as well. He was the perfect visionary to reinterpret Tolkien.”
Unfortunately, it never happened. It turns out that Tolkein thought Sendak didn’t bother to read his book because the publisher mislabeled several of the drawings Sendak submitted for approval. And a meeting to repair the literary titans’ relationship was cancelled when Sendak suffered a heart attack on the eve of the meeting.