Why I'm so devastated by the death of Maurice Sendak (VIDEO)
You know how growing up you always have that go-to book that your parents would read to you before you went to bed and no matter how your day was, it would cheer you up and make you remember how awesome it was to be a kid?
That book for my family was Where the Wild Things Are. Then later on, it became Maurice Sendak's other classic In the Night Kitchen. We were serious Sendak addicts in my house and I plan on having his whole library of books on hand when I become a mom. What was so great about his stories was that they were as much fun for my parents to read as they were for us kiddies to listen to. I can still hear my father's hysterical "ROAR" as he got into character as Max, the mischievous star of Where the Wild Things Are.
That's part of the reason why I was so saddened to wake up this morning to the news that Sendak had passed away at the age of 83 due to complications from a recent stroke he suffered.
The thing about Sendak that really rocked my world as a child and still does today is that he found a magical balance between using his incredibly vivid imagination to build worlds fantastical enough to totally engage youngsters, while at the same time keeping his characters grounded in the real life trials and tribulations of growing up.
Growing up is hard business, and Sendak seemed to have such a thorough understanding of both the highs and lows of being a child. He proved that he still possessed his incredibly unique talents once again when he released his first written and illustrated new children's book in 30 years last September. And as to be expected from Sendak, the story was a beautiful combination of colorful fantasy and somber reality.
Bumble-Ardy, issued by HarperCollins Publishers, focused on the tale of an orphaned pig (his parents were quite realistically eaten) who decides to throw himself a big, boisterous birthday party. Moral of the story? We all deserve to party a little, especially if you're a pig and may be turned into bacon sooner rather than later.
I mean, who can argue with that logic?
Here is Maurice Sendak on the meaning of life and death, warning, don't read unless you are prepared to cry:
Did you love Maurice Sendak's books? What are your children's favorite books?