Tuesday, May 8, 2012
A moment of silence, please. It's the end of an era. Maurice Sendak has died. (He was 83.)
His Where the Wild Things Are is still arguably the best picture book of all time.
His Max is still every angry little kid you've ever met. The one who gets over it just in time for a hot meal. And there's even cake.
Did you ever notice that every little boy Sendak drew was a young Maurice?
Sendak was a curmudgeon till the end, recently giving a delightfully cranky interview to Stephen Colbert, who is writing a tongue-in-cheek picture book out of it.
Sendak got sick of talking about Where the Wild Things Are, which I suppose is understandable. He has created other wonderful books, as well, most recently Bumble Ardy. My personal second favorite is the Nutshell Library, especially Chicken Soup with Rice and Pierre. Oh, and what about his Rosie?
Maurice Sendak changed the course of picture books, showing that they can be rich and subversive rather than sweet and didactic. Every picture book written in the last 50 years owes a debt to Sendak.
What's your favorite Sendak book? Higglety Pigglety Pop? Outside Over There? In the Night Kitchen? Or the books he illustrated: Little Bear, The Moon Jumpers, Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present, The Bat-Poet, The Juniper Tree and Other Tales from Grimm, The Light Princess...
Thank you, Maurice. Thank you and goodbye. Maybe the angels won't pester you about Where the Wild Things Are. And maybe you'll see Jenny again.