Maurice Sendak: Will Always Be Remembered as the King of the Wild Things

Maurice Sendak passed away yesterday.  You can be forgiven if you're currently thinking, "Who?"  It wasn't a name that immediately jumped out at me either.  Now, let me add that he was the writer and illustrator of the children's classic, Where the Wild Things Are.  This is not only an iconic children's book, but also a great story to that you can listen be read by Christopher Walken.  This book was one of the most beloved childhood stories, but I was actually shocked to discover that Maurice Sendak was quite the prolific children's book author and illustrator.  This was a writer that was passionate about creating great stories for children that didn't follow the usual safe and comfortable mold.  He is actually set to have another book posthumously released this year, so his works will span a huge time frame.  It is great to see an author that produces innovative and original works for children, and didn't try to play it safe.

I loved Where the Wild Things Are as a child.  I now love reading it to my son.  He is fascinated by the pictures and loves staring at the enormous monsters.  This is a book that some may think is too scary for children.  Criticize it for what they believed didn't contain a valuable message.  And I laugh at such thoughts.  I cherished this book when I was young, and I loved the vivid imagination and world that was contained within.  I could relate to Max, and I was happy to see there was another child that dared to create new worlds with his mind.  It encouraged me to do the same.  It showed that monsters aren't just things to be afraid of.  We can live in a world of monster.  We can even be their king.  I hope my son can get the same joy from this awesome story.

Where the Wild Things Are was probably tied with The Monster at the End of the Book as a story that I constantly wanted read to me as a child.  It created the kind of world I was comfortable to be in.  It made creatures that I wanted to visit and have adventures with.  Where the Wild Things Are in some ways would have been my first introduction to the world of the bizarre and supernatural.  It would have been little kid version of a horror story.  A genre that I still hold dear and feel is valuable to society.  It introduced it in a safe and magical way that a child can understand and appreciate.  I see that wonder in my four month old son, when I read this delightful book.

I want to thank Maurice Sendak for such a powerful and unforgettable little tale.  I want to thank him for creating stories that were willing to explore things that other children authors avoided.  He knew kids could handle it.  I thank him for that.  He will always be remembered thanks to his incredible stories.

RIP Maurice Sendak 1929 - 2012.