Backwards into Outside, Over There

The last time I heard Maurice Sendak speak, was on NPR  several months ago.  He was not well, and he missed some of his dear friends who had recently passed.  But HE was still here. The stars were overhead and the earth was still in balance.  And now?  I often tell my students that no other picture book needed to be made after Where the Wild Things Are.  It's perfect.  It is the essence of childhood:  To be "naughty", to run away, to want to control the unknown scaries, and in the end to come home to a warm supper because, despite everything, you are safe and loved.

I grew up with the Little Bear books and they (along with the Garth Williams/EB White books) are part of my DNA.  In the Night Kitchen had a huge influence on me as did Wild Things.  And, whenever I am stuck for inspiration, I pull out my copy of Outside, Over There, a book in which he manages to stuff his love for the Grimm Brothers, El Greco and Mozart... not an easy task for a picture book. Sadly I never got to see any of the stage versions of his stories, but I have all the clippings.

Thank you, Maurice Sendak, for never forgetting what it's like to be a child, for your fabulous creations, your imagination, perserverence and for the Wild Rumpus.

Read more in NY Times
Listen to interviews on Fresh Air/National Public Radio
Tell them Anything, But tell them if it's True
Terrible Yellow Eyes

Illustration © Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are


Anne said...

Beautifully said, Liz - and so glad he inspired you to to what you do

Janice Fried said...

Us illustrators, especially those of the children's book variety, hold Maurice Sendak up as the yardstick to which we all measure ourselves by.
Your work is lovely, Elizabeth. The tradition carries on...

Patti said...

so beautifully said. Just read Outside Over There to my son last night. My personal favorite is the Night Kitchen.
Your work is beautiful.

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