Wednesday, May 9, 2012

We’ll Eat You Up, We Love You So!

A writer of passion and heart
Made picture books into an art,
With bold exhortations
To three generations:
“And, now, let the wild rumpus start!”  -Dr. Goose
          When Paige texted the family early yesterday that Maurice Sendak died, it felt like a close friend passed away.  I grew up adoring Sendak & Seuss.  Then, in a children’s lit class in college I was fascinated to learn about Sendak’s curmudgeonly ways, his childhood insecurities and his life-long struggle with melancholia.
          I love that Sendak is celebrated as  “the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche” (NY Times).  His honestly in prose and illustrations probably helped me feel more “normal,” if, like Max, I flew into a rage, or needed to get away (but eventually needed to return home too). I think his works are brilliant and timeless.     
          When asked about his "wild things” illustrations, Sendak always maintained (and I love this) that “he was drawing his relatives - who, in his memory at least, had hovered like a pack of middle-aged gargoyles above the childhood sickbed to which he was often confined.” (NY Times).  Classic!
          Sendak also didn’t exactly view himself as a children’s writer per se.  In fact, having no children of his own, he occasionally admitted to being a bit frightened by kids.  He once noted that he preferred children as few and far between as adults, and then admitted to being less tolerant of adults than children.  A homebody and a bit of a recluse but an incredibly gifted man.  Rest In Peace Maurice Sendak! "Merry Once, Merry Twice, Merry Chicken Soup with Rice!"