Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thank You, Mr. Sendak

Maurice Sendak died this morning.  He was 83.  When our children were little, Sendak books were some of their favorites.  Almost everyone is familiar with Where the Wild Things Are, but I like some of his lesser known books even better.

Part of our Maurice Sendak collection.

As I mentioned in my recent post about pancakes, In the Night Kitchen was a particular favorite at our house.  Other favorites were Chicken Soup with RiceHector Protector, Pierre, and Kenny's Window.  Sadly, I think the kids may have forgotten Kenny's Window, as I recently said, "An only goat is a lonely goat," to our daughter and she didn't remember where it was from.  True, it's only one line from a 55-or-so-page book, but for some reason, it always resonated with me. That is the wonderful thing about Sendak's books.  While he was known as a children's author, his books are fun for adults to read, too.  A streak of dark humor runs through them.  Maybe they are not appropriate for all children, but our children enjoyed them, and I find them wonderfully entertaining.

Take Pierre, for example.  Little Pierre, who always says "I don't care."  Poor Pierre is eaten by a lion.

Arriving home
at six o'clock,
his parents had a dreadful shock!
They found the lion
sick in bed
and cried,
"Pierre is surely dead!"

Of course, everything turns out all right for Pierre, just as it does for Ida and her baby sister in Outside Over There when the baby is snatched by goblins.  While Ida is brave, she is also "foolish," and makes a "serious mistake."  The characters in Sendak's books aren't always wise or even good, they are more like normal children, who say "no" and sometimes misbehave, but things work out in the end.

Ida in "Mama's yellow rain cloak" going off to save her sister.

That's an important lesson, even for adults.  We don't have to be perfect, we will make mistakes, but that's okay.  So thank you, Maurice Sendak, for all the books you wrote and all the joy you gave to children and adults.  We'll soldier on, but we won't forget you or your spunky characters.

Hector Protector


  1. So sorry about the sad news! Growing up in Spain, I never got around his work, but, from what I just read, it looked really outstanding! RIP


  2. I was so sad when I read that he had died. I had never heard of Where The Wild Things Are until my son was born and someone bought it for him (his name is Max, too). And then I fell in love with his books. I love that they are not just for kids. I did not like the movie they made out of Where The Wild Things Are though. I didn't think they did the book justice.

  3. Thanks for posting! These were favorites at our house too - and my brother LOVED In the Night Kitchen. I know I'll love to read these to my own kids someday.

  4. So sad! We have only read Where the Wild Things Are but I will have to check out the others for my kids. I refer to my younger son as the "Wild Thing" sometimes.

  5. I don't know many of Maurice Sendak's books but I always enjoyed reading Where the Wild Things Are to my boys. Think I've still got it somewhere in one of our many bookcases. Maggie xx

  6. I'd love to go through all these classics. Such a great collection!


  7. This seriously bummed me out yesterday. Felt like a huge chunk of my childhood just fell away.

  8. Oh no! I hadn't looked at the news since yesterday morning. That is very sad. My favorite of course was where the wild things are. I still love that story.

  9. "Where the Wild Things Are" was one of my favorite books as a child! We will always remember him dearly.
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  10. How sad! He will be missed. Thanks for this sweet tribute.

  11. What a great author. He sure had an imagination. And I love Max and The Wild Things.
    The handsome man is Sue from Sullivan and Murphy's husband. His name is Murphy, hah. He is as nice as he is handsome.

  12. Wonderful tribute to a wonderful man!

  13. HIs books are some of our favorites as well. Thanks for sharing, liz

  14. I didn't realise he'd passed away, what a legacy he has left for us all! I made my eldest son a wolf suit when he was four, and he would stomp and roar around the house.. :)

  15. What a great talent! He will surely be missed!


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