19 May 2012

A farewell to wild things

On 08 May 2012 Maurice Sendak author and illustrator of children's books died. His most famous work is "Where the wild things are" which was one of my partners favourite book as a child. Personally I was always a fan of Bears in the Night and the Mercer Mayer book  One Monster after another

But I remember enjoying  Mr. Sendaks  The Midnight Kitchen.  I don't remember much about it except that there were bakers that looked like Oliver Hardy and the boy in the story wore bread. I think I liked it because the boy in it got to make an aeroplane out of bread, and the story was a bit mental.

Sendak was an award winning writer, illustrator, costume and set designer for the theatre. He was a dazzlingly creative man who like most successful people was also considered highly  controversial by some.

Portrayals of naked children, phallic milk bottles and accusations , caused librarians to draw over his pictures to obscure nudity, and psychologists to write angry columns that that in Where the wild things are Sendak was creating themes of desertion and punishment for young Max. But by the majority he is recognised for his wonderful imagination and his creative talent. He has brought joy and entertainment to generations of children and that is the legacy that is important.

For me Sendak is a lot like Mercer Mayer. They both recognise that children don't always want happy safe stories. Children want stories that are a bit scary and grotesque at times. Goblins and monsters are fun as well as bears and faeries. I think (and hope) that children remember books like these well into adulthood, and in turn buy them for their children. 

He was a creative talent that was marvellous and stimulating. His crazy imagination was the vehicle for children to journey through his stories like Willy Wonkas boat in  Charlie and the Chocolate factory,  and I know he was 83, and all that, but his death still made me a little sad.

I would like to hear what children's book was your favourite? leave a comment and let me know?

1 comment:

  1. Personally I didn't see the fascination with 'Where the wild things are' as a child. As a studier and collector of children's books I see the value a little more. As a child I loved 'Ping', I even dressed up as the little chinese boy for a book day at school one year. I also loved 'Spot the all black dog' (no idea if that's the actual name or not), 'Franklin the Turtle' and Graeme Base books. As an adult I've collected Colin Thompson books and really like any children's book that has few or no words. They encourage the most imagination of all.