Maurice Sendak

May 8th, 2012 | Uncategorized

Man, now Maurice Sendak is dead. The very first book I read by myself was Hector Protector and As I Went Over the Water.

What were your favorites, not counting Where the Wild Things Are?

When a friend of mine was growing up in NYC she got to see him tell and draw stories in person for an audience.

What a brilliant guy, who took children very seriously.

55 Responses to “Maurice Sendak”

  1. Ruth in RI says:

    Oh no! But very fitting, somehow, that I should get this news here.

  2. Ipstenu says:

    “Chicken Soup With Rice” and “In The Night Kitchen” were always my favorites, more than the Wild Things.

  3. ๐Ÿ™

    Mine was the Little Nutshell Library, especially PIERRE.

  4. Kate L says:

    Stephen T. Colbert interviewed Maurice Sendak. Here’s the clip… keep in mind that the real Stephen Colbert (with no silent “T” in Colbert) tells his interview guests before the interview that he, Colbert, plays “an idiot, and your job (Mr. Sendak’s job, in this case) is to set me straight”. So to speak.

  5. Erika says:

    I’ve always loved Chicken Soup with Rice best of all. Can’t look at it without hearing Carol King’s voice in my head, which isn’t a bad thing.

    Sendak’s Little Bear illustrations are quite marvelous, too.

  6. Allyson says:

    I came here today hoping that you would have posted about this, Alison. I loved the Nutshell Library, but I think In the Night Kitchen was my favorite. It was so magical, so naughty, and so comforting all at once. The series of illustrations where Mickey falls into his pajamas and into bed at the end is one of the most beautiful works of art I’ve ever seen.

  7. Katherine says:

    In the Night Kitchen. I remember the librarian reading it to us in elementary school…and feeling very scandalized by seeing naked little boy parts at school.

    And Chicken Soup with Rice.

  8. Yatima says:

    Can I also give a huge shout-out to all the childless gay people who love children? My kids are surrounded by gay uncles and aunts, and that influence in their lives is *golden*.

    I’m gonna vote Night Kitchen. The plane!

  9. Michael says:

    Chicken Soup With Rice and In the Night Kitchen.

    “He took children seriously,” yes. Exactly. More specifically, he took their *imaginations* seriously. There was always this element of the unstated or mysterious about his work. He never condescended to overexplain or offer pat resolutions.

    A serious loss. Thanks for remembering him here.

  10. Glenn says:

    I remember the Bumble Ardy animation from Sesame Street. It isn’t bad. In fact, it’s fine.

  11. Erika says:

    Oh – I forgot – A Hole is to Dig must be mentioned, too. Brilliant interaction between Ruth Krauss’s text and Sendak’s illustrations.

  12. Lucile says:

    The first book I ever read by myself was “Little Bear” so I was in love with his illustrations right from the start. “A Hole Is to Dig” was another early favorite of mine. I only discovered “Kenny’s Window” as an adult, but that is definitely my favorite. “What is an only goat?” “A lonely goat.”

  13. Allyson says:

    Glenn– thanks for the Bumble Ardy link. I loved that as a child, and hadn’t seen it in a long, long time.

  14. Kate L says:

    Photos of President Obama reading Where the Wild Things Are to school children.

  15. DianaMlvz says:

    I shared a birthday with M.S. June 10th. I have a copy of In the Night Kitchen on video. Short but sweet.

  16. judybusy says:

    I actually was pretty creeped out by Wild Things, so never sought out his other books. Now I love it, though!

    I did see a Prokofief opera with a set designed by M.S. This was in NYC in 1985; I don’t remember the opera. I took my mom to it when she was visiting me. He designed many opera sets, apparently.

  17. Therry and St. Jerome says:

    When I was four years old, I read A Hole is to Dig; thank you, Erika, for reminding me of the title! And Judybusy, thanks for the link to the opera sets. Maurice and Edward Gorey had a real affinity for the dark heart of the gesamtkunstwerk. In 1993, Art Speigelman drew an interview he’d had with Maurice, and it’s stuck with me. The view of Maurice’s face when he describes what childhood is really like reminds me of AB drawing Mo in her most fanatical moments. But here’s a link to the interview:
    Art and Maurice

  18. […] Maurice Sendak ( Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. By ?????? • ??? ???? • Tagged Children's literature? Maurice Sendak? Where the Wild Things Are 0 […]

  19. Andrew B says:

    Therry, 17, that interview is amazing. Everybody else, if you haven’t already, you need to click through and look at it. The first two panels will be particularly interesting to illustrators who worry that their process is too deliberate and controlled. If there are any such associated with this blog.

    But for everybody else… Therry, you neglected to mention that it’s actually a collaboration, with Spiegelman drawn by Spiegelman and Sendak drawn by Sendak. I think the one exception is the panel Therry mentions, which looks to me like it was drawn by Spiegelman. Don’t know what that means. Aside from that, look at the dog as drawn by Spiegelman top left, and the dog as drawn by Sendak top right. Damn, he was good.

    Not so brilliant, but worth reading: here’s Kushner on Sendak, from several years ago.

    Alison, what I remember is The Night Kitchen and The Nutshell Library, especially “Pierre” and “Chicken Soup With Rice”. I have a feeling answers to this question will vary with the age of the responder.

  20. freyakat says:

    “A Hole Is To Dig” (which I do know was illustrated by but not written by Maurice Sendak) was a special book that I loved starting when I was perhaps 3 years old. I remember the pleasure that I got out of telling the school principal when I was in second grade that “A principal is to take out splinters”.

    PS A book is to look at

  21. freyakat says:

    @ Mentor: What is this “Your comment is awaiting moderation”?

  22. AuntSoozie says:

    The first books I remember “owning” myself… not shared with my sisters or borrowed from the library were the Little Bear series. MS’ illustrations in Little Bear were my first introduction to his work and they’re still my sentimental favorite.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Both parts of the Colbert interview are here on Comedy Central . I liked how Colbert actually catches him, briefly, in an inconsistency–but I think Sendak liked it, too.

  24. Judith Acht says:

    Oh boy, that is bad news…. ๐Ÿ™
    I fell in love with his drawing style ages ago. What a loss!

  25. Kate L says:

    freyakat (#21) I think that it means that Mentor is watching over us, guiding us, moderating us, mentoring us. Oh, Mentor, you’re wonderful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. falloch says:

    Came here too after reading about Maurice, hoping AB would’ve posted something. ‘Outside Over There’ cause the illustrations are so beautiful and the girl is a hero; ‘A Kiss for Little Bear’, though not his story because illustrations are quite subversive for what could be a saccharine story (plus first appearance of a Wild Thing). When I worked in a creche in teh early ’80s, the kids all loved the ‘Really Rosie’ video, and I could sing along with every song. Years ago, I saw a book in a US bookshop called, I think, ‘The World of Maurice Sendak’ (?) but couldn’t afford it. May have to look for it again – has incredible sketch sequences and lots of background information.

  27. falloch says:

    Sorry, it’s ‘The Art of Maurice Sendak’ and costs a lot on Amazon ($85). Oh well – when I win the lottery …

  28. NLC says:


    It probably doesn’t affect many folks here, but it appears that Amazon has added the “Click to Look Inside” feature on RUMM: [HERE].

  29. judybusy says:

    Therry, thanks for the link to the Spiegleman interview! I thought his Maus series was so brilliant.

  30. freyakat says:

    Hey, I just looked in the top drawer of my little
    cabinet, at something I haven’t paid attention to
    in years: “Ten Little Rabbits” by Maurice Sendak,
    bought by me for $1.35 at the Gotham Book Mart probably around 35 years ago, or maybe earlier, around the original publication year of 1970.

    “This book was first published on the occasion of an exhibition of original drawings and other materials illustrating the art of Maurice Sendak
    at the Philip H.and A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation,
    2010 Delancey Place, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
    It was set in type at the Stinehour Press and printed at the Meriden Gravure Company.”

    I am now taking this fragile little thing out of its tiny plastic bag and putting it into a paper envelope to live with its little booklet friends on the Edward Gorey shelf. This doesn’t look to be printed on acid-free paper, as opposed to the
    EG books, which are printed on a variety of interesting papers indeed.

  31. hairball_of_hope says:

    @freyacat (#30)

    The fragile Sendak print may be better off in the plastic bag than in paper. The plastic will do a better job of shielding it from oxygen and ozone, which will deteriorate the paper.

    The Philadelphia Inquirer has a very nice writeup on Sendak, with info on an upcoming exhibit in June at the Rosenbach Museum & Library.

    (… goes back to her head-splitting sinus headache on a grey rainy day in May …)

  32. Diamond says:

    Hey thanks NLC 28. This is certainly helpful for us here in the UK, still patiently waiting until 31st May for the real thing . . .

  33. shadocat says:

    This just in: President Obama now says he supports gay marraige:

  34. Sendak was one of my heroes. I’m just crushed.

    On a positive note, I’m sure he would have appreciated today’s news; he was with his partner Eugene Glynn for 50 years, until Glynn’s death did they part.

  35. Kate L says:

    Thanks for the link, shadocat (#33)! Off-topic: A.B. isn’t the only person jetting about… Here is BuzzFeed’s collection of photos of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Asia.

  36. There’s a lovely video on YouTube, “Sendak on Death (and Life),” from an interview done around the time of his 80th birthday.

    I also recommend searching YouTube for “Really Rosie,” a 1975 animated special with music by Carole King (using Sendak’s poetry) that was later adapted for the stage and produced off-Broadway. Delightful stuff.

  37. PJeannechild says:

    PREZ ENDORSES GAY MARRIAGE?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! holy shit. we have lived to see this day. a president, saying yes to same-sex marriage.

  38. shadocat says:

    PJC; Holy Shit indeed! And yes, Darren Z., wish the great Maurice had lived to see it…

  39. Janet Spicer says:

    Pierre. I don’t care!

  40. Pat Tong says:

    The quiet dignity of “Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or: There Must Be More to Life” always made it one of my favorites.

  41. Kat says:

    Thank you, Alison, for a fantastic reading in Berkeley last night!

    I’m so, so, so touched that you took a minute to sketch a little “Max” (or Alison-as-Max-in-a-wolf-suit) in my copy of Are You My Mother.

    Considering that I spent the morning crying over Sendak’s death, it meant a lot!

    I am so thoroughly devoted to Where the Wild Things Are that all else pales in comparison. I have a Wild Thing on my mantle, Max in his wolf suit as the wallpaper on my laptop, I was Max for halloween a couple of years ago……

    I think my appreciation has grown over the years, and I think that spending several years teaching preschool had a lot to do with it. So many kids books insist on having a message, but Sendak wasn’t afraid to show Max as a little sh*t who chases the dog with a fork.

    God, I love that little sh*t.

  42. Kate L says:

    Those of you who watched young Dr. Maddow on the television machine last night may recall her reference to the Kansas Preservation of Religious Freedon Act. On this joyous day after President Obama’s statement on gay marriage, it’s worth pondering what this law would entail:
    “The bill includes language allowing Kansans to sue state institutions over laws or policies that curtail or would likely curtail their religious freedom. Under the bill, a city that has a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation could be sued for violating a personโ€™s religious freedom.”
    Not just LGBT folk are at risk, here. There are still plenty of antediluvian folks here in Kansas from the early 60’s, who claimed Biblical justification for racial segregation.

  43. Fester Bestertester says:

    Kate L#42
    Personally I await the law suits from the Rastafarians and Peyote cults.

  44. Kate L says:

    Fester Bestertester (#43) That could happen. We’re talking about a law, and badly writte laws that are themselves just plain bad often have all sorts of unintended consequences. Could Fred Phelps sue those of us who are going to counter-protest his family at this Saturday’s Moo U commencement ceremony? We arrive before dawn so we can take the high ground along the walkway leading to the auditorium, and block the view of the Phelps people and their hateful signs. We do that with signs and placards of congratulation for the students, their friends and family, and with LGBT-rights signs.

  45. courtney says:

    Outside Over There and In the Night Kitchen. His books were such a big part of my childhood, and I absolutely adored him.

  46. Eva says:

    The Light Princess, illustrated by Maurice Sendak, written by George MacDonald. I discovered it in the library of the synagogue where I went to Hebrew School, when I was in the 6th grade. Everything else Maurice Sendak wrote or illustrated or both I like very, very much. But the Light Princess is my favorite of the books he illustrated.

  47. My favorite Sendak work was one in which he was the illustrator: A Hole Is To Dig. His illustrations of children are brilliant and wonderful. He was an artist who really understood kids, really got them. And he brought us all right back there to those days and feelings of carefree childhood with all of his work. Thank you, Mr. Sendak.

  48. JO says:

    “Outside Over There,” the first book my daughter, then 5 or so, read that wasn’t about something, it just was.

  49. Eva says:

    I just saw a great documentary: Hulu is available for free, with some things by subscription only. Hopefully this documentary, Tell Them Anything You Want, which was originally an HBO production, is generally available. I loved it. There’s a particular passage about Maurice remembering something he saw as a two year old that was confirmed 50 years later, that he did actually see. It made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I don’t want to spoil it, just go and see it if you can.

  50. Jan says:

    Sendak illustrated one of my favorite books, “I Want to Paint My Bathroom Blue.” I loved the watercolory pictures as a kid, and the book is still a favorite.

  51. Ellen Orleans says:

    Our library has a touching tribute. Go Boulder librarians!

  52. […] Blog Archive Maurice Sendak Stephen T. Colbert interviewed Maurice Sendak. Here's the clip keep in mind that the real Stephen Colbert (with no silent T in Colbert) tells his interview guests before the interview that he, Colbert, plays an idiot, and your … […]

  53. Dane says:

    We Are All In The Dumps With Jack and Guy – because who else was going to write about homeless children with AIDS in 1993?

    And he also illustrated a set of the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books; his interpretation of the titular character remains my favorite.

  54. Alex the Bold says:

    When I was a little boy, my favorite book was “Little Bear,” which Sendak did the illustrations for.

    Everything in my life went to hell when I was about 12, and although there are some good memories scattered throughout my childhood, my mother reading “Little Bear” to me is really just about the only one that’s completely untainted by anger and bitterness.

    “It is cold. See the snow.”