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{Maurice Sendak} Sayer’s Book Corner #11

When I read in the NY Times this morning about Maurice Sendak passing away at age 83, there was a pang in my heart. Anyone that knows me or has been reading this blog, knows my love for this man. I think his contribution to children’s literature, among other things, is incredible & his artistic voice will be sorely missed. I’m only happy to pass it on to Sayer though his books & my memories of first reading them.

{Maurice & Jack Sendak 1956 – from the jacket of Circus Girl}

While I’ve loved his books & illustrations for a long time, it wasn’t until I saw the 2010 documentary, Tell Them Anything You Want, that I became just as interested in him as a person. I learned that Higglety Pigglety Pop! was inspired by his own dog (& his favorite book along with The Night Kitchen) who also makes an appearance in Where the Wild Things Are. He also looked up to his older brother Jack. They wrote stories, drew, & made toys together. Ever since watching this documentary (which I now own & watch from time to time)  I’ve been on a mission to collect his books & learn more. Writing a post about Maurice Sendak is exercising every editing bone in my body right now. I could go on a scanning binge that would keep me occupied for days. But with restraint, here are a few illustrations & thoughts. 

{Illustration from Higglety Pigglety Pop!}
{Illustration from Where the Wild Things Are}
{Self Portrait – LA Times }
My favorite Maurice Sendak discovery/memory was when I was a kid (I’m thinking around middle school). It was a tradition to go to the Pacific Northwest Ballet’s, Nutcracker with my mom & grandma. I remember so vividly the first year that Maurice Sendak did the sets for the ballet. His interpretation is truly stunning & how I will always remember the Nutcracker. My mom bought me the book that year for Christmas. (The nutcracker looks a lot like Sendak’s self portrait don’t you think?)

{Illustration from Nutcracker – story by E.T.A. Hoffman 1984}
I had this idea to have a bit of a Maurice Sendak reading marathon today with Sayer. I explained that it was a nice way to pay tribute to the man who wrote & illustrated so many of our favorite books. When I asked him what book we should start with, the answer was, The Night Kitchen. While we didn’t “read” all of them, we poured through them. Sayer ended the night listening to Carol King’s, Really Rosey cd as he fell asleep.


As you probably noticed, I went away forever. I am very experienced now and very famous. I’m even a star. everyday I eat a mop, twice on Saturday. It’s made of salami and that is my favorite. I get plenty to drink too, so don’t worry. I can’t tell you how to get to Castle Yonder because I don’t know where it is. But if you ever come this way, look for me.   


– Epilogue from Higgley Pigglety Pop


Thanks for years of inspiration Maurice…

Some more Sendak love:
NPR – Fresh Air – interview with Sendak here 
Sayer’s Book Corner #1 – The Nutshell Library – La Petite Magazine – here

{illustration} A rare find…

So speaking of rabbits, the velveteen kind to be exact – I have an interesting & cool vintage find to share. Last year I stumbled on a book called, Best in Children’s Books a compilation of stories edited by Doubleday press in 1960. I started thumbing through it because it included The Velveteen Rabbit (which is probably the most influential book of my childhood). As a bonus, I was literally giddy when I saw that Maurice Sendak (who is a favorite illustrator of mine) had illustrated it!  Do I even have to tell you that I I bought the book just for these illustrations?

Sendak’s early drawings are my favorite & I really love his interpretation of this story.   I thought a few days before Easter would be  perfect time to share them. Hope you have a great weekend! Happy Easter! 

{Inspiration} Collaborations…

It seems like at the first of the year I always go on major research tangents. I’m a sponge that soaks up inspiration & information as if to store it for the rest of the year. I love discovering how things connect. My brain is on overload with facts & inspiration flitter fluttering around in my brain. This week it all started with researching Maurice Sendak & watching the documentary, Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait directed by Spike Jonze (who directed the movie Where The Wild Things Are). I find Spike Jonze brilliant & adore Maurice Sendak. I was happy to find this photo of Maurice Sendak, taken by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity fair this last August. Being that I love photography, her photographs are always a pleasure to discover.

Then my memory was jogged that Spike Jonze directed this awesome video that features Christopher Walken that makes me grin ear to ear. Christopher Walken has always intrigued me & I’m a sucker for a good dance sequence. So there you have it, four inspiring people & some very cool collaborations. Hope you have a great weekend & have a chance to dance a little!