Tuesday, May 8, 2012

{Maurice Sendak} Sayer's Book Corner #11

When I read in the NY Times this morning about Maurice Sendak passing away at age 83, there was a pang in my heart. Anyone that knows me or has been reading this blog, knows my love for this man. I think his contribution to children's literature, among other things, is incredible & his artistic voice will be sorely missed. I'm only happy to pass it on to Sayer though his books & my memories of first reading them.

{Maurice & Jack Sendak 1956 - from the jacket of Circus Girl}

While I've loved his books & illustrations for a long time, it wasn't until I saw the 2010 documentary, Tell Them Anything You Want, that I became just as interested in him as a person. I learned that Higglety Pigglety Pop! was inspired by his own dog (& his favorite book along with The Night Kitchen) who also makes an appearance in Where the Wild Things Are. He also looked up to his older brother Jack. They wrote stories, drew, & made toys together. Ever since watching this documentary (which I now own & watch from time to time)  I've been on a mission to collect his books & learn more. Writing a post about Maurice Sendak is exercising every editing bone in my body right now. I could go on a scanning binge that would keep me occupied for days. But with restraint, here are a few illustrations & thoughts. 

{Illustration from Higglety Pigglety Pop!}

{Illustration from Where the Wild Things Are}

{Self Portrait - LA Times }

My favorite Maurice Sendak discovery/memory was when I was a kid (I'm thinking around middle school). It was a tradition to go to the Pacific Northwest Ballet's, Nutcracker with my mom & grandma. I remember so vividly the first year that Maurice Sendak did the sets for the ballet. His interpretation is truly stunning & how I will always remember the Nutcracker. My mom bought me the book that year for Christmas. (The nutcracker looks a lot like Sendak's self portrait don't you think?)

{Illustration from Nutcracker - story by E.T.A. Hoffman 1984}

I had this idea to have a bit of a Maurice Sendak reading marathon today with Sayer. I explained that it was a nice way to pay tribute to the man who wrote & illustrated so many of our favorite books. When I asked him what book we should start with, the answer was, The Night Kitchen. While we didn't "read" all of them, we poured through them. Sayer ended the night listening to Carol King's, Really Rosey cd as he fell asleep.


As you probably noticed, I went away forever. I am very experienced now and very famous. I'm even a star. everyday I eat a mop, twice on Saturday. It's made of salami and that is my favorite. I get plenty to drink too, so don't worry. I can't tell you how to get to Castle Yonder because I don't know where it is. But if you ever come this way, look for me.   


- Epilogue from Higgley Pigglety Pop


Thanks for years of inspiration Maurice...

Some more Sendak love:
NPR - Fresh Air - interview with Sendak here 
Sayer's Book Corner #1 - The Nutshell Library - La Petite Magazine - here


  1. sad news + a lovely post, kristin! hadley + i had a sendak night tonight, too. i haven't seen the documentary [yet!] - but i have read some of his amazing interviews. x

  2. Oh.. what a lovely post. While I know of Maurice Sendak (and laughed hysterically at the interview recently with S.Colbert thanks to you), I have never taken to his books as of yet. I'm not sure why. I do however, love the illustrations. I love the way you share your passion for books with Sayer (and once again, love these images you took!). A beautiful tribute...

  3. My son and I love books by Maurice Sendak too, and we had a reading marathon on this day as well. As I read your post, I couldn't look past Sayer's tee! My two-year-old, Oliver would look great in it, and it speaks volumes. He sits in his reading nook for hours when given the opportunity and flips through his books. In fact, most of them are memorized, so he tells himself the story. :) If you don't mind, please share where you found such a great tee!



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