I don’t know why, but every time a children’s author passes away, I feel as if I’ve lost a dear friend. Or perhaps, I have an inkling of why. I worked in a library for five years. Three of those years I assisted in the Children’s Room. One of my duties was to catalog and label the new materials. Maurice Sendak’s books passed through my hands quite often (as did Doctor Seuss, Mo Willems, Judy Blume, Leo Lionni, and many others).
Authors who illustrate their own work are admirable, and Sendak’s drawings certainly possess a signature quality. People’s hair is stringy and the edges are sharp. But, ultimately, these renderings are familiar and comforting with their warm tones and whimsical nature.
I must admit that I did not grow up reading Maurice Sendak (I was more of a Berenstain Bears and Corduroy kind of girl). But during my library days, I read many of Sendak’s books. I found myself delightfully intrigued by the the mischievous yet playful glint in the eyes of his characters. Wonder and imagination are so often lost in the transition between childhood and adulthood. Sendak, thankfully, did not lose that spark. He brought that rich imagination to his books and breathed it into his timeless protagonists. And for that, I graciously thank him.
Goodbye, Maurice Sendak. May you always roam and find adventure where the wild things are.