About 1970, when I was in my mid 20s I asked my school-librarian housemate for advice on what to give my niece for Christmas. She suggested Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, and at a stroke she introduced me to a world of children’s literature that had been transformed since I was a child. I loved the book. So did my nieces and nephews, who named all the monsters after adults in their lives.
When I became a parent, I must have read the book, and In the Night Kitchen, and Higgledy Piggledy Pop and The Sign on Rosie’s Door (which has the best last line ever) hundreds of times. Not to mention Pierre:
And when the lion gave a roar,
Pierre fell out upon the floor.
He rubbed his eyes and shook his head
and laughed because he wasn’t dead.
The moral of Pierre is: Care!
Dwight Garner has an excellent elegiac ‘appraisal’ of Sendak’s work, with lots of excellent links, here.