Remembering the Wild Rumpus Maker
May 12, 2012
We’re mourning the loss of an amazing, children’s book author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak, who passed away at the age of 83.
Sendak began his career in the 50s as an illustrator for children’s books. Among them are the favorite series Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and Little Bear, which was even turned into a television show in the 1990s.
Sendak began to author and illustrate his own titles in 1956 with his first book, Kenny’s Window. He became well known with the publication of his infamous Where the Wild Things Are in 1963. This is perhaps the title he is most associated with and one of the more controversial children’s books of our time. Parents and teachers were upset with the nightmare-ish theme of the book and the depiction of monsters. Some accused the main character of being a “brat.” Despite the criticism, children the world over came to love and recognize themselves in the character of Max and lose themselves in the wonderland of monsters. Many children dreamed of letting their own "wild rumpus" begin!
Sendak went on to write many, many children’s books. He continued to garner criticism for some of his illustrations and book themes. The book, The Night Kitchen, was censored by some because the main character, as small boy strikingly similar to Max, appears nude throughout the book. One his more recent books, Mommy, is a pop-up book featuring characters such as Frankenstein and mummies. This is actually my favorite book of Sendak’s! I love the combination of off-beat characters and pop-up features. It’s really a gem of a book.
Sendak might have created controversy, but he always stayed true to his own style. He created books that, love them or hate them, will not long be forgotten. Thank you, Mr. Sendak, for creating world of imagination for kids and grown-ups alike.