Today we remember Maurice Sendak, the man who took us to where the Wild Things are, and for that we are forever grateful. Master of the imagination, Sendak has taken us willingly into the dark of the wilds armed only with the fiercest of glares and up into the blackness of the night sky buoyed only by dough. Through his pen, we have experienced glorious triumphs to be sure, but the heart of his stories have never dwelt in the soft and comforting realm of many children’s books, generally preferring brats over angels and eschewing good behavior for the unpredictable frenzy of the rumpus. And to those who have wanted his monsters to be cuddlier, his sentiments softer, or his edges less rough, Sendak always seemed to echo Pierre, perhaps the stubbornest boy ever written, in blithely saying “I don’t care!”
The truth is that, while there are occasionally lessons to be learned, Sendak’s are no admonitory tales defined by over-arching morals and clean resolutions. His unruly children aren’t always transformed at the end of the adventure, but rather are sent on home to find that they are still loved and that supper just might be waiting. And for that, the naughty child in each of us here at BookPeople would like to thank him.