"Please don't go. We'll eat you up. We love you so."
May 8, 2012 5:41 AM   Subscribe

Maurice Sendak, Children’s Author Who Upended Tradition, Dies at 83 [NYTimes.com] "Maurice Sendak, widely considered 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, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83 and lived in Ridgefield, Conn."
posted by Fizz (290 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Fizz at 5:42 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


This must be a very tough week for Spike Jonze.

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posted by timshel at 5:44 AM on May 8, 2012 [16 favorites]


He was so great.

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posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:45 AM on May 8, 2012


And it's going to get worse. You know what they say about deaths....that's two.

:(
posted by Fizz at 5:45 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by hydropsyche at 5:45 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by rtha at 5:45 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by leslies at 5:46 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by drezdn at 5:46 AM on May 8, 2012


:(
posted by tilde at 5:46 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Thorzdad at 5:47 AM on May 8, 2012


Thank you, Mr. Sendak.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:48 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


The moral of the story is: CARE!




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posted by Bromius at 5:48 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


And hopefully, he's now happily prancing around in his pajamas with a bunch of monsters.

Thanks for helping my childhood make a whole lot more sense, Mr. Sendak.

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posted by kinnakeet at 5:48 AM on May 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


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posted by pemberkins at 5:48 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by elizardbits at 5:49 AM on May 8, 2012


I remember when he came to my elementary school, read one of his books, and drew us a phantasmagoric creature, taking suggestions from the audience the entire time. We had a blast.

That sketch hangs in the art room still.

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posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:49 AM on May 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


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posted by Jon_Evil at 5:49 AM on May 8, 2012


In the Night Kitchen is still one of my favorite books, mostly due to the New York-made-up-of-baking-supplies illustrations, but also the signature Sendak dream-logic narrative. I'm not sure my kid, a practical minded 6 year old, enjoys Sendak as much as I do. But I still drag one of his books out at least once a week.

We'll miss you sir.
posted by emjaybee at 5:50 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


So sad.

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posted by MissySedai at 5:50 AM on May 8, 2012


I was just working on a post so in addition to:
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I will leave this here:
Maurice Sendak, Children’s Author Who Upended Tradition, Dies at 83.

Beloved, uncompromising children's author who refused to lie to children, was never asked if he was gay

He gave the world Where the Wild Things Are alongside lesser known tales as Night Kitchen and a staging of the Nutcracker ballet.

You can hear his words here.
posted by Mezentian at 5:50 AM on May 8, 2012 [18 favorites]


shit.


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posted by ShawnString at 5:51 AM on May 8, 2012


For those who haven't seen it, here's his luminous appearance on the Colbert report recently - 1, 2.
posted by Rinku at 5:51 AM on May 8, 2012 [19 favorites]


I was working at the children's museum in Philly when they opened a Sendak visit and I got to meet him. I was about as starstruck as I ever have been in my life. Enjoy the wild rumpus in your afterlife, Mr Sendak.
posted by 8dot3 at 5:51 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]




I'd imagine most everyone knows about "Where The Wild Things Are", but the Sendak book that made the most impression on me was "In The Night Kitchen". Something about the dream-logic of the doughy plane and falling into milk was really compelling. I can recall the illustrations vividly, and it's been years since I've seen the book. And the bakers - they seemed really familiar, for some reason. I suspect, now, that it's because they looked like Oliver Hardy, but as a kid I thought they were related to Max in some way.

A couple months back I read a story about Mr. Sendak dealing with the death of his longtime partner, and musing on his life. Amazing stuff, worth a read.
posted by dubold at 5:52 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


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posted by kram175 at 5:52 AM on May 8, 2012


ah fuck
posted by edgeways at 5:53 AM on May 8, 2012


Very eerie. Just this week, my little one has been insisting we read her Where the Wild Things Are over and over and over. She loves the boat and the dragon, and has been identifying the letters on the bow of the boat. She'd never shown much interest in the book before, and since we thought it would be more appropriate for older kids, we kind of left it on the shelf after we first got it almost a year ago.

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posted by Slap*Happy at 5:53 AM on May 8, 2012


When my sister and I were younger, our mom had to buy us each our OWN copy of Outside Over There because she was scared we would destroy the copy from the library.

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posted by sc114 at 5:53 AM on May 8, 2012


I read his books to my sons, and I'm certain that his work was an important part of the creativity they both exhibited later in life as a photographer and a movie producer. Rest in Peace, Maurice, you did good.
posted by HuronBob at 5:53 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


and sailed back over a year
and in and out of weeks
and through a day
and into the night of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot


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The triumvirate of Maurice Sendak, Daniel Pinkwater, and Douglas Adams may have shaped my personality more than all the other people in my life, combined.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:53 AM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


...would like to paint a dot with a little bit of Rumpus attached but can't. Well, sad...
posted by Namlit at 5:53 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by jlbartosa at 5:53 AM on May 8, 2012


Damn. This hurts. I feel torn between the need to bake a cake and have a wild rumpus... The saddest rumpus ever.

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posted by Ghidorah at 5:54 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


For those who haven't seen it, here's his luminous appearance on the Colbert report recently - 1, 2.

The weirdest coincidence is that Colbert book came out today.
posted by drezdn at 5:54 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Dr. Zira at 5:54 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Mercaptan at 5:54 AM on May 8, 2012


I had the honor and pleasure of meeting and spending a day with Maurice last year, he was so terrified of death and finality. Sweet Maurice, now you know what it's about, and I hope you're finally at peace. You touched so many, you will live on forever, at least you know that now.

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posted by dbiedny at 5:54 AM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


For all kinds of monsters and scary things, staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once is still very good advice. We will miss you.
posted by Cocodrillo at 5:54 AM on May 8, 2012 [10 favorites]


We got 83 years of him on our planet. That's certainly something to be proud of. Score one for the human race.

Rest in peace, Maurice.
posted by item at 5:55 AM on May 8, 2012 [13 favorites]


...and it was still hot.

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posted by erniepan at 5:56 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


So bummed. As many others have said, I loved WTWTA, but it was the dreamlike microworld of In The Night Kitchen that really captured my imagination.

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posted by shiu mai baby at 5:57 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Off to Where the Wild Things Are. Thank you Mr. Sendak.

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posted by Sailormom at 5:57 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


What truly awful news.
posted by chococat at 5:57 AM on May 8, 2012


my little one has been insisting we read her Where the Wild Things Are over and over and over.

I don't know about Slap*Happy's kids, but I did exactly the same thing as a child. In school, at home ... and I even recall a badly animated cartoon ... that could have been Play School.
posted by Mezentian at 5:58 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Shit. I just saw the title of your post. Damn.
posted by Ghidorah at 5:58 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by ChuraChura at 5:59 AM on May 8, 2012


Damn. I met Maurice on the day that I was first a pilot in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. As a rookie, you don't have access to the cabal of Macy's executives that preside over who gets to pilot the newest, biggest, and most popular balloons in a given year, let alone who gets to escort this celebrity or that.

My year may have been the 15th running of the WTWTA balloon in the parade, for all I knew, but Maurcie was there, on a cold, dark morning on West 81st street, behind the police barricades watching his balloon get blown up. Not like other parade-celebs, with special passes and whatnot to be inside parade lines and walking with their balloons, he just seemed to be there to enjoy watching the balloon be inflated, like any other kid except a few decades older. He seemed very happy to be just another Joe on the street.

Once I realized who he was, I only got to talk with him briefly, given the 50+ people I had to take charge of shortly. I joked about how I was supposed to get the balloon out of the parade if certain parts deflated, so as not to "scare the children." He seemed to appreciate that (my attempt at irony). Sure wish I had gotten a picture with him - he seemed every bit the decent guy I always imagined him to be.

RIP Maurice, I hope wherever you are you can still see your balloon flying high.
posted by allkindsoftime at 5:59 AM on May 8, 2012 [26 favorites]


I can't even count how many times as a kid I rode my bike to the library specifically to look at the Maurice Sendak books. He captured this childlike wonderment that few other adults could even comprehend.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:00 AM on May 8, 2012


This makes me sad.

I met him real briefly at a library event about 20 years, he was getting mobbed and handled it with aplomb. A little cranky, but in a very charming way.

My parents never liked his books, I know he's on record as saying one of the hallmarks of a really good children's book is one that adults don't understand.
posted by marxchivist at 6:00 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


We got 83 years of him on our planet. That's certainly something to be proud of. Score one for the human monster race.

Fixed.
posted by Fizz at 6:00 AM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


I just heard the interview dubold posted rebroadcast on fresh air the other day. I was struck by how tired and melancholy he sounded. And so now another part of my youth is gone, although his books will live on.

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posted by TedW at 6:01 AM on May 8, 2012


I saw this headline and my first reaction was "No! He's not allowed." Then my inner six year old, the one who was afraid of everything, the one who hated school and how his friends had deserted him and had begun to find pleasure in books sat down and cried. His books meant a lot to me in some dark times.

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posted by Hactar at 6:01 AM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century

While I'm absolutely not arguing Sendak's importance, Roald Dahl and Theodor Geisel come very quickly to mind if we're going to be competitive about it.
posted by item at 6:01 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


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I'll miss you, you beautiful curmudgeon.
posted by Theta States at 6:03 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


My Swahili professor in college had us translate well known stories into Swahili and then tell them to the class. It had the happy effect of causing me to memorize Where The Wild Things Are in both English and Swahili. When I went to Kenya shortly thereafter, I volunteered for a few days at a center where they worked to rehabilitate street children and found myself surrounded by many small, cute, Swahili speaking children. "Usiku umoja," I told them, "Max amevaa nguo yake ya mbwa msitu na yeye alifanya ukutuku na namna mmoja ... na namna nyingine." Where The Wild Things Are translates very well.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:03 AM on May 8, 2012 [62 favorites]


Oh no. People like him aren't supposed to end. A dozen years or so ago, I met him at a signing in NYC for some toy at FAO Schwartz with...maybe Todd McFarlane...I don't remember. I brought with me my mother's copy of Little Bear, that she'd gotten as a present in the 50's. He seemed surprised to see it, and asked how I'd managed to find a copy in such good shape, and I told him how my mom had read it to her sister, and then to me and my sister, and how we all loved the book so much that it always got put away. He signed it to my mom, and drew a little picture inside. It was the greatest birthday present I ever gave her. He struck me as a wonderfully gruff old man, with whom I wish I'd had a chance to have a conversation not surrounded by hundreds of other people waiting their turn.

Rarely do I feel much of anything when people I don't know pass of natural causes at ripe old ages. But I feel this loss deeply.
posted by dejah420 at 6:03 AM on May 8, 2012 [20 favorites]


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posted by Verdant at 6:04 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Kitteh at 6:04 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by dsword at 6:05 AM on May 8, 2012


I'll be reading 'Where the Wild Things Are' to my son tonight.
posted by run"monty at 6:05 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by tommasz at 6:05 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Joey Michaels at 6:05 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by steambadger at 6:06 AM on May 8, 2012


'Really Rosie' and 'The Sign on Rosie's Door' were my favorite books as a kid. Just for creating the pint-sized drama queen Rosie, the man was my childhood hero.

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posted by pxe2000 at 6:07 AM on May 8, 2012


May he have a hot supper waiting for him.

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posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 6:08 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


""I have nothing now but praise for my life. I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can't stop them. They leave me and I love them more. ... What I dread is the isolation. ... There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready."

From his lovely interview with Terry Gross on "Fresh Air."

Thank you, sir.
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:08 AM on May 8, 2012 [39 favorites]


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posted by gauche at 6:10 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by maxim0512 at 6:12 AM on May 8, 2012


Aw man.

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posted by Terminal Verbosity at 6:12 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by gaspode at 6:14 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Mittenz at 6:17 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by klausness at 6:17 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by KevCed at 6:18 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by HumanComplex at 6:19 AM on May 8, 2012


His interview with Stephen Colbert is one of the greatest things.

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posted by emelenjr at 6:19 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh no! I just started crying. I loved his books so much as a child. I only knew him from interviews, but he always sounded like such an intelligent and interesting person, and he brought so much joy to the world.
posted by Forktine at 6:20 AM on May 8, 2012


I remember taking 'In The Night Kitchen' to show-and-tell in third grade - at my Catholic school. I was chastised by the teachers, and felt embarassed, but couldn't understand why the nudity was such an issue, when the story was so wonderful and the illustrations so beautiful!
Bless you Mr. Sendak.
posted by AstroTurf at 6:20 AM on May 8, 2012


(previously)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:20 AM on May 8, 2012


Though I was an extremely heavy reader as a kid, and though Wild Things was a favorite on my bookshelf jr., I can't recall owning or reading any of Sendak's other titles. As I alluded to above, Dahl and Seuss (and Shel Silverstein) played much larger roles in my early reading - well, Seuss and Silverstein at first, followed a little bit later by Dahl. What would y'all recommend I pick up to share with my future children?
posted by item at 6:21 AM on May 8, 2012


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My childhood is richer for having read his stories....
posted by theartandsound at 6:22 AM on May 8, 2012


I hate crying in the office.

Many thanks, sir. Safe journey.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:22 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by odinsdream at 6:22 AM on May 8, 2012


Item, definitely pick up In The Night Kitchen. The Little Bear stories are also marvelous.
posted by shiu mai baby at 6:22 AM on May 8, 2012


My Swahili professor in college had us translate well known stories into Swahili and then tell them to the class. It had the happy effect of causing me to memorize Where The Wild Things Are in both English and Swahili. When I went to Kenya shortly thereafter, I volunteered for a few days at a center where they worked to rehabilitate street children and found myself surrounded by many small, cute, Swahili speaking children. "Usiku umoja," I told them, "Max amevaa nguo yake ya mbwa msitu na yeye alifanya ukutuku na namna mmoja ... na namna nyingine." Where The Wild Things Are translates very well.

OMG could you please record this??
posted by odinsdream at 6:23 AM on May 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


Oh, and Maurice would want me to tell you: he detested, HATED Republicans, conservatives and all they represent. My work is done in this thread.
posted by dbiedny at 6:24 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by jquinby at 6:26 AM on May 8, 2012


Oh, and Maurice would want me to tell you: he detested, HATED Republicans, conservatives and all they represent. My work is done in this thread.

Maurice would want me to tell you: this is about his memoriam and life work, let's not politicize the thread unnecessarily. Let's just remember him for the joy that he was.
posted by Fizz at 6:26 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


lived it to the hilt, tho. in his own cranky, quiet, explosive way.
posted by es_de_bah at 6:27 AM on May 8, 2012


Oh, and Maurice would want me to tell you: he detested, HATED Republicans, conservatives and all they represent. My work is done in this thread.

You know, having met him myself, I have to disagree that this is what he would have wanted you to tell us. Maybe you knew him better than I did, but this is not the impression I got of what he would have wanted to remain in his absence.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:27 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by MeiraV at 6:27 AM on May 8, 2012


Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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posted by oneironaut at 6:27 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by ericb at 6:30 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:31 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by cottoncandybeard at 6:31 AM on May 8, 2012


It was something we spoke about at length last year, and I would not have put it up here if I didn't feel like Maurice would have wanted it so. It's not something he talked a lot about publicly, but I'll tell you this - where he lives, he bought up the houses that surround his, because they were owned by conservatives, which he didn't want living next door. So he bought them all out, and when a close friend (the one who introduced us to each other) lost use of her apartment for awhile, he had her staying in one of those houses, rent-free.
posted by dbiedny at 6:31 AM on May 8, 2012 [25 favorites]


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posted by lampshade at 6:32 AM on May 8, 2012


Oh oh oh! Such a wonderful man. Such a rich, wonderful life. Gifted, wonderful illustrator and artist. Insightful, magical writer. So glad he got to live to see gay rights. I love him

Thank you Maurice! Thank you thank you thank you!
posted by latkes at 6:33 AM on May 8, 2012


OMG could you please record this?? - Definitely. I'll do it tonight.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:34 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


Everyone seen the documentary Tell Them Anything You Want? I highly recommend it, a wonderful portrayal of Mr Sendak at the end of his life.
posted by Infinite Jest at 6:34 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Crying!
posted by latkes at 6:34 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by MythMaker at 6:35 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 6:35 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by blacktshirtandjeans at 6:35 AM on May 8, 2012


I loved Maurice Sendak as a child. Not as much Where the Wild Things Are, but definitely Outside Over There and In The Night Kitchen. But Chicken Soup with Rice was a story my mother read to us a lot, especially when she would make chicken & rice dishes (which was often!)
About ten years ago, I made my mother a present of a framed print from Chicken Soup with Rice. It's hanging above her computer desk at home.
posted by aabbbiee at 6:36 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


drezdn: The weirdest coincidence is that Colbert book came out today.

So Maurice Sendak was killed by the book?
posted by dr_dank at 6:37 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Bummus at 6:37 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by sfred at 6:37 AM on May 8, 2012


Please don't go. We'll eat you up. We love you so.

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posted by JimmyJames at 6:38 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by dlugoczaj at 6:38 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by biscotti at 6:38 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by ugf at 6:38 AM on May 8, 2012


Just reading his Wikipedia page, and learned that his first illustrations were published in a science textbook called Atomics for the Millions (which might be the best name for anything ever). Here's a blog post with some examples.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:39 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ahw :(
Now I really need to put some effort into finding my beloved long-lost copy of In The Night Kitchen.

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posted by HFSH at 6:40 AM on May 8, 2012


Little Bear is going to get a workout at storytime today.

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posted by dr_dank at 6:40 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by sleep_walker at 6:41 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Flood at 6:41 AM on May 8, 2012


If you get a chance, visit the Rosenbach Museum in Philly. Sendak first started donating items to the museum in the 1960s, and their Maurice Sendak collection now holds over ten thousand pieces.

One of the more striking items is The Chertoff Mural, painted by Sendak for his friends' children. It's pretty simple - a parade of kids, a lion, and a bear, proudly led by Sendak's own dog, Jennie. Restorers transported the mural to the museum, wall and all, restored it, and you can still see it today.
posted by zamboni at 6:44 AM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


"Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.”

Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it."

-Maurice Sendak.
posted by quadrilaterals at 6:45 AM on May 8, 2012 [79 favorites]


Sad that no one has yet mentioned Higglety Pigglety Pop!, so I must do so. This was by far his most influential work for me. I don't think it's as well known as much of his other work, but anyone I've ever known who has read it has had it stick, hard. I hope he meets Jennie in his afterlife.
posted by dlugoczaj at 6:45 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


My now 12 year old daughter loved, loved, loved, WTWTA when she was a toddler and I loved reading it to her. Thank you Mr. Sendak.

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posted by shmurley at 6:46 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by samhyland at 6:46 AM on May 8, 2012


Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or, There Must Be More to Life was my absolute hands-down favorite book as a child (right up until I read Watership Down). The art was so different and dark and mysterious and beautiful. The characters were so bizarre and intriguing. The story was incomprehensible but fascinating. Even the font seemed like something from another world. I love that book so much. It's the first book that I have a clear memory of reading for the first time. My six-year-old mind was blown. Just the cover art still gives me chills.

Right now I'm going to buy a new copy of it to give to my kids. I haven't ever read it to them because I don't want them to tear up mine (and because I'm a little bit afraid they won't love it like I do and it would make me feel like I'm doing something wrong with them).

Thank you so much, Mr. Sendak. Your book was a good friend.
posted by Dojie at 6:46 AM on May 8, 2012


Ohh, this is heartbreaking. He was a huge influence on my worldview as a small child, and my imagined ideal home was largely informed by his depiction of the city.

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posted by desuetude at 6:46 AM on May 8, 2012


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I'm in the milk and the milk's in me...
posted by PuppyCat at 6:47 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just watched the Colbert interview, and they're incredibly funny, and the laughing makes everything hurt a little bit less.
posted by Ghidorah at 6:50 AM on May 8, 2012


I remember looking in the mirror one morning and realizing that I wasn't Max anymore, that I was a Wild Thing now.

RIP Mr. Sendak.
posted by penduluum at 6:51 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by Smart Dalek at 6:52 AM on May 8, 2012


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Where the wild things were, we were all kings.
posted by eriko at 6:57 AM on May 8, 2012


All of Really Rosie is up on YouTube (or at least it was a couple months ago when I had a nostalgia attack).

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posted by LionIndex at 6:58 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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My first MetaFilter dot of condolence. I have been waiting for the right one.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:59 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thank you, sir. Thank you for what you did for my childhood. I and my children will love you all of our lives.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:59 AM on May 8, 2012


I wasn't someone who really cherished his book as a kid or anything, but after seeing him on Colbert, he instantly became one of my favorite people.
posted by SharkParty at 6:59 AM on May 8, 2012


Oh, damn. We were all lucky to have him around for as long as we did. I give some credit to the NYT, also, for naming Eugene Glynn. HuffPo's obit doesn't mention him at all. Sometimes I feel like the media wants to pretend that being gay is something that only applies to young people.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:00 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


That's why, thanks to Maurice, we have cake every morning.
posted by latkes at 7:01 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


While we read many of his books when I was young, Wild Things was the book we always took to the doctor's office (the same office where I now take my baby son). Once we made the tragic mistake of leaving the book at home, and so my mother tells me, she and I sat in the waiting room and recited the whole thing from memory, much to the bewilderment of the people around us.

When I was a sophomore in college, Sendak gave the commencement address. I had been up all night the night before, working and going on a diner run, as was my wont, and so I don't remember anything of it but his wonderfully charming manner and his closing line, "Let the wild sex rumpus begin!"
posted by newrambler at 7:03 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


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posted by Shoggoth at 7:04 AM on May 8, 2012


Sendak has given us a mighty gift with art, and puts me in mind of the excellent Peter S. Beagle quote, "We are raised to honor all the wrong explorers and discoverers - thieves planting flags, murderers carrying crosses. Let us at last praise the colonizers of dreams.”

Rest in peace...or a merry, wild rumpus if that is what you prefer, sir. Thank you for what yo've given us.
posted by smirkette at 7:04 AM on May 8, 2012 [16 favorites]


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posted by cass at 7:05 AM on May 8, 2012


If you haven't watched the Colbert videos, you must.

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posted by MexicanYenta at 7:05 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by reductiondesign at 7:07 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Cash4Lead at 7:08 AM on May 8, 2012


"I'm in the milk and the milk's in me."

RIP Maurice. I'll read your books to my son :-)
posted by ZipRibbons at 7:08 AM on May 8, 2012


. :-(
posted by dorkydancer at 7:09 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by axismundi at 7:09 AM on May 8, 2012


'Let the wild rumpus start!"

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posted by djseafood at 7:11 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by MelanieL at 7:13 AM on May 8, 2012


Always loved his book. As a bookseller I pushed them whenever I could.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:14 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I loved the books I knew...but didn't know him that well. Today I'm learning a lot more about this man, and respecting the ever-loving shit out of him. I'm sad it took his death for me to know his life.
posted by Richat at 7:14 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've just watched the excellent Colbert interview. I don't know much about the man and thus didn't know that Sendak was gay. That's so wonderful - an out, ridiculously well-respected children's book author.
posted by item at 7:15 AM on May 8, 2012


Wild rumpus in his memory.

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posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:17 AM on May 8, 2012


!
posted by Renoroc at 7:17 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by en forme de poire at 7:18 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by pmb at 7:19 AM on May 8, 2012


I gave Mickey in the Night Kitchen to the kid of a friend. It changed his life, at least for awhile.
posted by Danf at 7:24 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Iridic at 7:27 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by lilkeith07 at 7:28 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by ambrosia at 7:28 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by candyland at 7:28 AM on May 8, 2012


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Fantastic old guy - fantastic artist and writer too. Our kids are growing up surrounded by his wonderful works.
posted by Artw at 7:29 AM on May 8, 2012


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Also, there was a strange little movie done of In the Night Kitchen.
posted by mattbucher at 7:32 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


In a Guardian interview late last year Mr. Sendak mused..."I can't believe it." I can't believe I've turned into a typical old man!." "I was a young man minutes ago."

A perfect description of aging.

Forever young and definitely not typical. Enjoy a new journey Maurice.
posted by incandissonance at 7:32 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by epilnivek at 7:33 AM on May 8, 2012


Where the Wild Things Are was the first book I picked out for myself. It was great then, and I still have fond memories nearly 4 decades later. He lived a long life, so I can't be surprised at his passing, but the world does seem half a shade darker today.

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posted by bashos_frog at 7:36 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by mwhybark at 7:36 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by jadepearl at 7:37 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by bz at 7:39 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Amplify at 7:41 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by marginaliana at 7:42 AM on May 8, 2012


Wow. I'm currently re-reading one of my favorite books from childhood, Meindert DeJong's "Hurry Home Candy," and Sendak's illustrations give the already touching story even more of an emotional impact. Thank you, Mr. Sendak, for helping to teach the young me empathy and compassion at time when my life lacked significant role models for these qualities.

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posted by quietalittlewild at 7:43 AM on May 8, 2012


I've had tears rolling down my face for the last two hours. So long, Mr. Sendak, you were so very special.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 7:46 AM on May 8, 2012


Wow, I didn't know this was going to hit me this hard. I think Jim Henson was the only other celebrity where the news of his death literally moved me to tears.

I can't get out of my mind his interview with Terry Gross and how he talked about getting older and all the ways it was affecting him, especially how he was missing people.
"I have nothing now but praise for my life. I'm not unhappy. I cry a lot because I miss people. They die and I can't stop them. They leave me and I love them more. ... What I dread is the isolation. ... There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready."
Here is Fresh Air's remembrance page for Sendak (will be updated with audio later today), and here is a link to the full 2011 final interview with that show.

I understand that you were ready, Mister Sendak. But the rest of us weren't.

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posted by hippybear at 7:49 AM on May 8, 2012 [8 favorites]


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posted by Xoebe at 7:49 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by dismas at 7:52 AM on May 8, 2012


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I loved Where the Wild Things Are as a child, and fell in love with it again in college when my ex gave me a copy in Japanese as practice when I was still a low-level Japanese student. Although it didn't work out in the end, she was the first woman I ever truly fell in love with. The moment I first realized this was while she read the story to me in bed one night after I had spent a long day studying for finals after working a particularly exhausting night shift the night before. I knew then that I wanted her to read that very same book to our children.

We haven't spoken for years, but every once and a while I dust it off and read though it, soaking in the memories--good and bad--of the most significant relationship of my adult life.

You will be missed the world over, Mr. Sendak.

「おねがい いかないで。われたちは たべちゃいたいほど おまえがすきなんだ。たべてやるから いかないで。」
posted by Kevtaro at 7:54 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


Goodbye (for now) and thank you, Mr. Sendak.

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posted by lord_wolf at 7:55 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by eruonna at 7:58 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by c10h12n2 at 7:58 AM on May 8, 2012


Thank you for sharing the world with us, Maurice.
posted by pointless_incessant_barking at 8:00 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by El Brendano at 8:01 AM on May 8, 2012


He'll live forever in my heart. I like to think he's out traveling with the World Mother Goose Theater.

From the next cube: "S'Tella? Are you OK?"
posted by S'Tella Fabula at 8:01 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Working at the Rosenbach Museum & Library in the late 1990s I had the privilege to meet Sendak numerous times and enjoyed working with that outstanding collection. Seeing drafted, partially completed illustration in forms that were changed on the way to publication made me feel some extra intimacy or attachment to his major and minor classics, and I'm grateful for that experience.

I would have to say my personal favorite is Brundibar, which hasn't been mentioned in this thread yet. If you haven't read it, run, don't walk to get it from your local library. And if they don't have it, shake your heavy bear bottom and demand that they acquire it. Little bug first met Brundibar when she was just over 2, and from the first moment it has held a fascination for her above other books. Dare I believe such a little one can somehow perceive the grave urgent foundation of the story? Or is it a testament to Sendak's craft that he brought that home to such a small child? Or both?

The Rosenbach has an exhibition of his work up right now.
posted by maniabug at 8:02 AM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


Where the Wild Things Are is a great book and I read it with my kids all the time, but he had done so much more. I haven't found one of his works I didn't love.

The best thing to me is when he said he wouldn't lie to children. He, Fred Rogers, and my own parents taught me that you can tell fantastical stories and have so much fun while still telling the truth to kids. I'm working very hard to pass that on to my kids as they grow. I can tell silly stories or joke around, but when there is a real question, the answer is always the truth or 'I don't know; let's look it up'.

We need more people who are able to create wonderful fiction and also know the value of truth. Maurice, you will be missed.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 8:04 AM on May 8, 2012 [14 favorites]


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posted by Edison Carter at 8:10 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:13 AM on May 8, 2012


The Hathi Trust has the whole of Atomics for the Millions available online, including young Maurice Sendak's illustrations.

And:

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posted by billcicletta at 8:18 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


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posted by mkim at 8:18 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by malthas at 8:20 AM on May 8, 2012


And it's going to get worse. You know what they say about deaths....that's two.

Yes, the deaths will probably continue until every single person on the planet now alive is dead. But we will group them into arbitrary triads because of our brains' insistence on creating patterns where there are none.

I am so grateful for Mr. Sendak's work. And I loved the interviews he did in his last several years. He will be greatly missed.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:22 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I finally understand the elegance of the sympathy dot. It lets you keep things short, so you don't muck up your keyboard with tears.

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posted by roger ackroyd at 8:22 AM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


The Internet: The greatest thing to happen to obituaries since sliced bread.
posted by nowhere man at 8:22 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by From Bklyn at 8:23 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by menialjoy at 8:28 AM on May 8, 2012


A great big
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posted by Obscure Reference at 8:30 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 8:31 AM on May 8, 2012


I had pre-written my post on "The Comics Crier" last night and posted it when I woke up, not knowing how sadly appropriate it would be today.

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Where The Wild Things Are... Now
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:34 AM on May 8, 2012


Higglety Pigglety Pop!, my favorite Sendak work as well, is about the death of his beloved Sealyham terrier, Jennie, and ends thus:

"Hello,

As you probably noticed, I went away forever. I am very experienced now and very famous. I am even a star. Every day I eat a mop, twice on Saturday. It is made of salami and that is my favorite. I get plenty to drink too, so don't worry. I can't tell you how to get to the Castle Yonder because I don't know where it is. But if you ever come this way, look for me.

Jennie"

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posted by milk white peacock at 8:36 AM on May 8, 2012 [9 favorites]


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posted by Slithy_Tove at 8:39 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by snorkmaiden at 8:40 AM on May 8, 2012


I still have my Nutshell Library and my 7" 33rpm record of Carole King singing "Pierre I Don't Care" and "Chicken Soup with Rice". *sigh*

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posted by Melismata at 8:41 AM on May 8, 2012




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posted by redbeard at 8:47 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Karmeliet at 8:50 AM on May 8, 2012


Like many people here, I grew up with Sendak's children's books, but his costumes, set designs, and illustrations for The Nutcracker and Die Zauberflöte are the works of his that really stay with me. His art was unlike anything else.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Quick little story about Maurice Sendak.

Back in 1996, the publisher I currently work for published a book about his work titled Angels and Wild Things: The Archetypal Poetics of Maurice Sendak. The book was well received and quickly went out of print. When I came here four years later, I knew about that book and wanted to bring it back into print. As we began to investigate how we might do that, the first wall we hit was the images. To repermission the images we contacted Harper Collins who published most of the books Mr. Sendak wrote, and while they granted permission for the first edition free of charge, they felt a second printing should have costs associated with the use of the material. The cost for those permissions was so high that the book would have been ridiculously expensive, and thus it just wasn't economically feasible.

Several years later we began work on a completely unrelated book about political art of the 1930s. One of the editors of that book, Jonathan Weinberg, was talking about a party he had recently attended to our humanities editor, and mentioned that Maurice and his partner were at the party. She asked if he knew Sendak, and he said yes, they were very close. She then asked if he knew if he was familiar with our book about his work, and he told her that he actually really loved the book. So she told him about our attempts to bring it back in print, which he listened to, and then promised to bring it up with Maurice.

About a month later our director received a call from the rights department at Harper Collins and told us that we were free to use any image or any text from Mr. Sendak's Harper Collins publications free of charge. It appears Maurice contacted Harper Collins and told them to allow us to use anything we like for the book. The book will be released in a new edition next spring, and it will include new sections on Bumble-Ardy, and Spike Jonze’s Film.

Thanks, Maurice. For everything.
posted by Toekneesan at 8:53 AM on May 8, 2012 [57 favorites]


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posted by jrewing at 8:56 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by radwolf76 at 8:57 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Feisty at 9:04 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by weaponsgradecarp at 9:05 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by /\/\/\/ at 9:06 AM on May 8, 2012


The world is lessened for his passing.

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posted by sotonohito at 9:07 AM on May 8, 2012


The ending of Higglety Pigglety Pop never fails to leave a painful lump in my throat.

Much like the one created by this news.

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posted by Sing Or Swim at 9:11 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by schyler523 at 9:15 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Snyder at 9:19 AM on May 8, 2012


Christ this makes me sad. I don't recall ever feeling quite so sad for somebody I didn't know, except perhaps for Mr. Rogers. Come to think if it, he was sort of the reverse of Mr. Rogers. Both celebrated children, and understood that they were, essentially, savages. But Mr. Rogers led us by the hand to growing out of it, and learning to be the masters of our experience. Sendak seemed awed and thrilled by the anarchic potential of children. Mr. Rogers was our teacher, and Sendak our champion, and I needes both as a boy. I still do.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:20 AM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


Growing up with a school teacher for a grandmother and an artist for a mom, Sendak's work was always close at hand. Higglety Pigglety Pop was my favorite because of how off-the-rails joyous and weird and unapologetic it was; on reflection it might have been the first thing I recognized as a real piece of art, with the sort of straight-from-the-id enthusiasm I've ended up loving in people like David Lynch. His work really was magic for a child, with the ability to come across as completely foreign to my experience, but somehow I could always to feel at home in these alien worlds, not just a visitor or observer.

As I got older and started to explore the "adult" book shelve around my house, I found more Sendak... Outside Over There (which years later I was delighted to see made a cameo in Labyrinth, and wasn't just uncredited source material as I'd previously thought) and Dear Mili. Dark, dark books, but still displaying an amazing understanding of and respect for the minds of children.

In Outside Over There, I found a letter Sendak had written my mother. It was a reply to some fan-mail she'd written him while I was an infant, in which she'd asked if she might be able to visit him since his Connecticut home was just a few towns from ours. He politely declined, mentioning the fact that he rarely had visitors and was hard at work with numerous projects. However, he informed her that he had nothing planned from his 90th birthday onward, and that he would be happy to have her as a guest at that point.

I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that when I saw this post when I arrived at work, my first reaction was "God damn it, Maurice, could you not have hung on seven more years??" For years I've been thinking about writing him and asking if he'd consider revising "visitors after 90" to "visitors after 80", but never got around to it. I feel like in some small way I've let Sendak down by not sending that letter... If nothing else, he's taught me that we live in this world as active co-creators, and real adventures and joys are always accompanied by risk.

I'll miss him. The man had a rough life, which I've only begun to learn about in the last few years, but given this world far more beauty and wisdom than anyone can be expected to.

Safe passage, Maurice.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 9:26 AM on May 8, 2012 [7 favorites]


Where the wild .s are
posted by jabo at 9:27 AM on May 8, 2012


I know what meal I'll be feasting on this evening in tribute.

Thank you once.
Thank you twice.
Thank you Chicken Soup with Rice.

posted by Rewind at 9:33 AM on May 8, 2012 [6 favorites]


All right, Death, you're beautiful and all, but I don't care HOW extensive a funky hat collection you have ... you have Levon Helm, MCA, AND Maurice Sendak now -- can we take a break?
posted by Occula at 9:35 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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Man, this makes me so sad, and yet grateful, too. He was just amazing.
posted by annsunny at 9:36 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by tzikeh at 9:47 AM on May 8, 2012


Sometimes, when my wild boys are being wild and my heart is bursting with love for them, in all their wildness, I will cry out "I'll eat you up, I love you so!"

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posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:51 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by alms at 9:55 AM on May 8, 2012


Thank you, Maurice Sendak, and may the Night Kitchen always be good to you.
posted by Gelatin at 9:56 AM on May 8, 2012


Now he will know
Where the Wild Things go.

(*sniff*)


posted by Lynsey at 10:01 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been waiting for my nieces to come of age, Chicken Soup with Rice is on the list of books I'd like to share with them. I had the book initially as part of The Nutshell Library (Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, One Was Johnny, and Pierre) and read it so much that I had to buy the individual book!

To borrow a phrase from The Kinks song Come Dancing: "Part of my childhood died / Just died"

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posted by kuppajava at 10:07 AM on May 8, 2012


( . . )
posted by nickyskye at 10:07 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by IvoShandor at 10:22 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by kprincehouse at 10:22 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by grubby at 10:23 AM on May 8, 2012


my daughter will be getting WTWTA read to her tonight.
posted by grubby at 10:24 AM on May 8, 2012


A little-remembered connection is that Sendak was on the original panel convened to create Sesame Street. Apparently he was a voice in that space for the darknesses of childhood as he was in his own books. The doodles he did while listening to a panel of child psychologists present on what they thought the show should be are wonderful, full of Freudian lusts and violence. It's well worth finding a copy of Children and Television: Lessons From Sesame Street to view them.

I was in Really Rosie, my first musical, at the age of seven. Part of my being bitten by the musical bug. Rest in wild rumpus, you father of us all. You will be dreadfully missed.
posted by gusandrews at 10:26 AM on May 8, 2012 [3 favorites]


I got my kids the little tiny set of five books which had 'Chicken Soup With Rice' and 'Pierre' and 'Alligators All Around' I loved reading those books to my kids.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is pretty much the first thing I heard about this morning when I got out of bed. Still crying.

Two of my favorite small friends are turning 2 in the next couple of months. I think it's high time someone gifted those little hellions with a small Sendak library of their own... I'll just have to read it all aloud to them until they can read it themselves. Oh, no, the horror of reading wonderful stories aloud! How will I ever survive it?

Thanks for making my own childhood one full of wonderful oddness, Mr. Sendak. My best to Eugene and the folks. <3
posted by palomar at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2012


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(reading to the kids tonight)
posted by newdaddy at 10:36 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by sonika at 10:44 AM on May 8, 2012


Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen are like tabooed into my psyche I spent so much time with them as a child.

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posted by jiroczech at 10:46 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Start with Dessert at 10:48 AM on May 8, 2012


I don't know how all of you think you can read to your kids tonight without blubbering incoherently. I know I won't be able to accomplish it.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:52 AM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


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posted by Superfrankenstein at 10:54 AM on May 8, 2012


Man, sorry to see him leave. he was formative to my imagination. I'll be reading some tonight to the little one.
posted by Liquidwolf at 10:56 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by joeycoleman at 10:56 AM on May 8, 2012


This has not been a good week for major figures of my childhood and adolescence.

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posted by Lutoslawski at 11:10 AM on May 8, 2012


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His collaboration with Pilobolus is documented in Last Dance.

He illustrated many DeJong books. The Singing Hill is what I would read late at night when I needed peace.
posted by brujita at 11:12 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tabooed? Knew I shouldn't have posted on my phone while walking home. I meant tattooed of course although that almost works.
posted by jiroczech at 11:20 AM on May 8, 2012


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posted by peripathetic at 11:21 AM on May 8, 2012


I just got back from the library to look at "In the night kitchen." Acid trip! Whee! Also watched the Rosenbach Museum interview someone linked to above. He mentions in there around 7 mins or so that he prefers that book to "Where the wild things are" as well. Unfortunately I can't watch the Colbert thing, probably because I'm in Canada.
posted by Listener at 11:23 AM on May 8, 2012


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Be a Wild Thing.
posted by New England Cultist at 11:29 AM on May 8, 2012


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The Wild Things are here!
posted by bjgeiger at 11:38 AM on May 8, 2012


When I heard this on the news, I was sad, but I immediately thought of the interview MonkeyToes quoted: "There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready."
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posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:48 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have a lot of re-reading to do...

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posted by theatro at 11:50 AM on May 8, 2012


“There are so many beautiful things in the world which I will have to leave when I die, but I'm ready, I'm ready, I'm ready.”
(For those who haven't heard, Fresh Air's entire show today is dedicated to him. It's on at 3pm EDT on my local station, Pittsburgh's WDUQ WESA, among many others, or you can just go listen now at NPR's website.)
posted by FlyingMonkey at 11:52 AM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by oomny at 12:04 PM on May 8, 2012


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posted by Shutter at 12:12 PM on May 8, 2012


I meant tattooed of course although that almost works.

Actually it's a beautiful Freudian slip.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:18 PM on May 8, 2012


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posted by troubles at 12:18 PM on May 8, 2012


Wow, sad - I saw the colbert interview recently and he seemed full of vigor, although I figured he probably had his press interviews done in his home because he was too old to do lots of traveling.
posted by delmoi at 12:22 PM on May 8, 2012


For a long time as a kid, the Really Rosie songs with music by Carole King was my favorite album. Though I only got to see the actual TV show once, somehow the character of Rosie really made an impression on me. It occurs to me now, as a 40something gay man, that Rosie was kind of my first "diva."

And I still know the songs.

Oh, and my Mother sometimes says "Pierre" is about me.
posted by dnash at 12:30 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by box at 12:38 PM on May 8, 2012


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posted by LobsterMitten at 12:39 PM on May 8, 2012


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posted by paperpete at 12:50 PM on May 8, 2012




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posted by Anitanola at 12:55 PM on May 8, 2012


I'm currently babysitting a two year old who's loves Carole King's really Rosie, so I've spent a lot of time listening to it over the past few days. (Doesn't hurt that it's an old childhood favorite of mine as well.) I've also been reading said two-year-old a lot of other books from around his house, and bringing him to story time at the local library, where they read a lot of alphabet books.

From this experience, it's become pretty clear that Alligators All Around is the alphabet book all other alphabet books aspire to. All that wonderful alliteration. The sheer number of actions illustrated, everything from the mundane (doing dishes) to the more unusual (looking like lions.) Never napping and pushing people, which you know was just thrown in there to delight little kids. New vocabulary words--quarrelsome, vain, imitating. Sendak didn't talk down. He didn't do the stupid "match one word to one picture" thing that so many other alphabet books do. He breathed new life into the format, and I love it.

Thanks Mr. Sendak, for not assuming that children are idiots. RIP.
posted by ActionPopulated at 12:56 PM on May 8, 2012 [5 favorites]


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posted by Diagonalize at 1:21 PM on May 8, 2012


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posted by amelliferae at 1:42 PM on May 8, 2012


Nobody's yet mentioned the Sendak book that was the most meaningful to me as a child (and an adult), Kenny's Window. It's done in a style much different from his signature saturated and full-up pages, spare images with a lot of white space on the page. I'd say it's best suited for kids a little bit older than the target age for In The Night Kitchen and Where The Wild Things Are, like maybe 6 or 7. It has a dreamlike and moody quality, an amazing structure of 7 mini-fables in a frame story in a dream, and many deep and subtle lessons on how to be happy in the world and begin to feel for others. That's the book that made me cry today when I heard the news, as it's made me cry many times before both as a child and an adult.
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 2:03 PM on May 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


Part of Sendak's legacy will be a whole generation of Maxes.

I've noticed that every second hipster boy of lil ubu's age (born 2010) is named Max - surely a result of WTWTA fans from childhood growing up & having kids right after the movie came out, jogging their memories & making Max the ideal name for the naughty but imaginative & artistic-by-association hipster kid.

The other boys are all called Oscar. I'm not sure why.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:34 PM on May 8, 2012


Terrible Yellow Eyes, a Wild Things tribute.
posted by latkes at 2:59 PM on May 8, 2012


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inimitable, irreplaceable.
god bless the milk, and god bless M.
posted by progosk at 3:03 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


And He ate it.

I have been thinking about Maurice Sendak all day. As a child you're not aware of an artist as an artist. And given the differences between, say, Outside Over There, and One Was Johnny, and Little Bear, I probably didn't even know they were all made by the same person. I got to read these books to my own daughter which is a real and true pleasure of being a parent.

What's getting me is how much he was like me in ways I didn't recognize: a curmudgeon, an artist, a Jew, a queer - all these things informed his work so much - in ways I never noticed until just today. I love him so. I'm so grateful he was here.
posted by latkes at 3:07 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


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posted by liza at 3:17 PM on May 8, 2012


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posted by badger_flammable at 4:35 PM on May 8, 2012


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posted by antonymous at 4:36 PM on May 8, 2012


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posted by chris88 at 4:52 PM on May 8, 2012


This Wild Thing will miss you, sir.

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posted by jonmc at 5:23 PM on May 8, 2012


The New Yorker has unlocked the archive of Art Spiegelman's 1993 2-page comic about his visit with Maurice Sendak.
posted by fings at 6:13 PM on May 8, 2012 [12 favorites]


I wish I could favorite that a hundred times, fings.
posted by hippybear at 6:26 PM on May 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ubu, I think a lot of Generation X are also directly naming their kids for their grandparents instead of giving them more modern/less ethnic names the way our parents did. If it hadn't been for Donovan's "Jennifer Juniper" I would have been Judith.
posted by brujita at 6:46 PM on May 8, 2012


As requested, Viumbe Washenzi Wanapokaa.

(it's been a while since I spoke Swahili, I apologize for stumbles)
posted by ChuraChura at 8:06 PM on May 8, 2012 [11 favorites]


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posted by homunculus at 8:31 PM on May 8, 2012


Sendak and Sondheim, two queer men who basically founded my aesthetic--brave, wordy, profoundly sad, with a calling towards justice and an ambiguity that justice will ever be achieved. Queer Melancholy as social, political, and aesthetic position. Only one is left.
posted by PinkMoose at 10:48 PM on May 8, 2012 [4 favorites]


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posted by susanbeeswax at 11:53 PM on May 8, 2012


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posted by LMGM at 2:39 AM on May 9, 2012




Colbert had an amazing extended portion of his interview with Sendak last night, it's deeply, deeply touching. And MOBY'S DICK. Thanks for that one, Maurice, you funny, messhugena mensch.
posted by dbiedny at 9:27 AM on May 9, 2012


Where’s Waldo, The Hitler Version - doesn't mention Brundibar.
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on May 9, 2012


In the Night Kitchen is a work of genius. And how lucky we have been over the years to find, in that kitchen, Pierre, Little Bear, Johnny, Jack and Guy, Really Rosie, and all the Wild Things, with alligators all around, eating chicken soup with rice. Let us mourn (and celebrate) a true giant.
posted by LeLiLo at 1:07 AM on May 10, 2012 [1 favorite]




Finally available to watch online (with apologies for folks outside the hulu zone):

Spike Jones' incredibly awesome interview documentary about Maurice Sendak, Tell Them Anything You Want.
posted by hippybear at 2:15 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


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