Rest in peace, Maurice Sendak

One of the greatest children’s book authors of the twentieth century died earlier today. Maurice Sendak is most famous for “Where the Wild Things Are,” which President Barack Obama read for children at this year’s White House easter egg hunt.

As a child I loved Sesyle Joslin’s silly books about manners, illustrated by Sendak: “What Do You Say, Dear?” and “What Do You Do Dear?” My favorite stories by Sendak were in the “nutshell” collection of miniature books in their own decorated box (One Was Johnny, Pierre, Chicken Soup With Rice, and Alligators All Around). I saved that collection to pass along to my own children.

Bleeding Heartland readers of a certain age may remember the animated 1970s television special “Really Rosie.” Carole King set many of Sendak’s books to music for that special, and the soundtrack is a fantastic children’s album. I’ve posted two video clips after the jump: the Really Rosie theme and “Alligators All Around.”

Share your own Sendak memories in this thread. UPDATE: NPR posted excerpts from several interviews Sendak has given over the years. Worth a read.

Tags: Books, Parenting
  • Great author/artist

    My brother and I would usually argue over what our mother should read to us at night, we both loved “Where the Wild Things Are” however.  His candor about death, missing old friends and just about everything else was very refreshing in different interview.  The man didn’t sugar coat things for people.  

    • it's true

      he explored those dark places and fears. Pierre makes it out of the lion’s belly alive, but in Sendak’s story about “Chicken Soup,” a boy who loved chicken soup so much ate it too fast one day and choked to death on a bone. Carole King wrote a really evocative song for that one on the Really Rosie soundtrack. I doubt children’s publishers would even produce such a book today.

You need to signin or signup to post a comment.