Maurice Sendak, author and Caldecott Award winner, has drawn his last illustration and his last breath after a long and influential life. His most notable work being the book, turned motion picture, “Where the Wild Things Are.”
I loved the book, the movie – not so much. To me, books are almost always better than the movie. I think it is because you can make a book your very own by using your imagination to create the scene to match feelings that a story evokes. Whereas with a movie, someone else has created the scene and it somehow belongs to them. We can enjoy it and understand it, but reading or even having a story read to us makes it personal in a way like nothing else.
As a child, I was much like the book’s unruly character, Max. I escaped into fantastic worlds of my own creation, as kids and adults alike often do, as means of coping with unexplainable, scary things. I didn’t own books when I was a kid, but when I became a mother I knew I wanted them to be something my child would cherish. So, each time we went out and my son was well-behaved, I made a point of rewarding him with a book. First it was just a series of Little Golden Books. Which we read so many times that he knew them all by heart before age three. Soon there were others, written by thoughtful children’s authors like Stan and Jan Berenstain and the greats – Shel Silverstein and E. B. White. Their fantastic works still occupy a place on our bookshelves and in our hearts. I know they will be enjoyed for years to come; possibly by grandchildren, but there’s no rush, really.
“Where the Wild Things Are” gives us characters we can relate to with feelings that are irrational and sometimes out of control. It gives us a place to examine the very real feelings we all experience. It’s also a place we can leave, and return to real life with a sort of courage to laugh at how wildly unpredictable life can be and take with us the knowledge that our reaction to the wildness is what’s important.
Thanks Maurice, for sharing your soul and giving a voice to the wild things within us all.