One of the most important children’s book artists of the twentieth century died today. Maurice Sendak, who wrote and illustrated the 1960s classic Where the Wild Things Are was 83.
Sendak took the traditional picture book and, through words and art, twisted into a dark and terrifying tale.
The author was born in 1928 in Brooklyn, NY. He had described his childhood as a “terrible situation”, as his extended family had died during the Holocaust. As a young boy he was confined to bed due to illness, and fell in love with books. It was Disney’s Fantasia that prompted him to become an illustrator.
Before becoming “known”, Sendak created window displays for F.A.O. Schwartz. His first published works were textbook illustrations (1947). Sendak would spend the next decade illustrating others’ books before he’d begin to write his own stories. He would go on to have more than 20 published, most recently Bumble-Ardy in 2011.
Throughout his career, Sendak lent his pencil to nearly 100 publications, including the “Little Bear” books.
Here’s a list of Sendak’s authored titles through the early 1980s. How many do you recall reading as a child?
- Kenny’s Window (1956)
- Very Far Away (1957)
- The Sign on Rosie’s Door (1960)
- The Nutshell Library (1962)
- Alligators All Around (An Alphabet)
- Chicken Soup with Rice (A Book of Months)
- One Was Johnny (A Counting Book)
- Pierre (A Cautionary Tale)
- Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
- Higglety Pigglety Pop!, Or: There Must Be More to Life (1967)
- In the Night Kitchen (1970)
- Ten Little Rabbits: A Counting Book with Mino the Magician (1970)
- Some Swell Pup or Are You Sure You Want a Dog? (w/ Matthew Margolis) (1976)
- Seven Little Monsters (1977)
- Fantasy Sketches (1981)
- Outside Over There (1981)
What are your memories of Sendaks works?