While children’s literature isn’t our focus here at the Facing Page, I want to take a minute to remember Maurice Sendak who passed away today. A figure of occasional controversy, he was without doubt one of the finest storytellers of our time. Maurice lived a difficult life, as a homosexual lower class jew, he often felt shunted to the sidelines of life as he grew up. The melancholy this brought out in him often showed itself in his writing. He wrote a number of classic books the most famous of which is Where the Wilds Things Are. This is one of the books I remember the most fondly reading (and having read to me) from my own childhood. For those who haven’t yet read it (I highly recommend you do), it tells the story of Max, a young boy with a particular affinity for his wolf suit and trouble. Max, after threatening to eat his mother, is sent to bed without dinner, and promptly leaves home, sailing away for a year and a day to a land of large and fearsome creatures: the Wild Things. A great rumpus ensues and Max becomes their king. Finally, having learnt a lesson or two, Max returns home, where happily the soup is still warm. It’s a beautiful story, perfectly written, and wonderfully illustrated – a masterpiece of storytelling. His writing and his intriguing personality–which comes out often in some memorable interviews–will be exceptionally missed, not least by myself.
RIP Maurice – please don’t go. We’ll eat you up, we love you so.