Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A confession.

My mother never read Where The Wild Things Are to me as a child. Neither did my father. In fact, I've never read it. I don't know the plot. I have no clue what it's about.

Truth is, it was just never that big in England. I listen bemused as my friends talk about reading it to *their* kids.

Maybe one day I should read it. Just so I actually understand what they're going on about. (No, I didn't even consider the movie, it looked awful to me).

So I'm sort of on the edges of the amazing impact this book has had on generations of American children. Even more embarrassing, I could not have told you who wrote it.

Maurice Sendak, that's who. A minor deity in the field of children's books that I never had the chance to appreciate, but who's influence I have definitely seen on others. The key thing was that he wasn't afraid to be scary. And kids like to be scared. For that matter, adults like to be scared.

Sendak died today of complications from a recent stroke. He was 83 years old. His most recent book was published only last year, and perhaps there might yet be a gem hiding in his desk...