Maurice Sendak

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.

If only!

The moral of Pierre is: Care!

Dwight Garner has an excellent elegiac ‘appraisal’ of Sendak’s work, with lots of excellent links, here.

One response to “Maurice Sendak

  1. Yes, I too am saddened by Maurice Sendak’s passing. I believe he was also the first winner of the Astrid Lindgren award, and well deserved too.

    Though probably his illustrations will be longer remembered, I love his words…

    …and in and out of weeks, and through a year…

    …into the dark of the night kitchen…

    When papa was away at sea and mama in the bower….

    (These off the top of my head and without checking…)


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