I cried this morning when I heard that Maurice Sendak died. I was at work and my wife texted me the news. My imidiate response to her was, "Oh, God...no." I then left my cubical to be alone and wept for about 10 minutes. Afterword, I cleaned myself up and returned to work...but I never stopped thinking about it.
I can remember my mom reading me every book in the Nutshell Library (Pierre, Chicken Soup with Rice, Alligators All Around, and One Was Johnny). I remember her hamming up Chicken Soup with Rice the Most...especially October, "WHOOPIE once. WHOOOOOOOPIE twice! WHOOOOOOOOOOOPIE chicken soup with rice!" I read that to my son for bedtime, and I read it like my mom read it to me. He laughed and looked at me like I was insane... his insane but loving father.
The first "long book" I read to my son was The Griffin and the Minor Canon which was illustrated by Maurice Sendak (written by Frank R. Stockton). My son was 1, but he didn't budge, his eyes were transfixed on the illustrations.
You Cant Get There From Here by Ogden Nash was a staple of my childhood too. I constanly pulled it off my father's bookshelf and enjoyed its' Maurice Sendak illustrations and hilarious poetry.
Most people will remember him for Where the Wild Things Are. I love the illustrations in that book, but it never touched me as much as The Nutshell Library books and In the Night Kitchen did.
To Maurice's family: I am so sorry for your loss. To fans everywhere: I am so sorry for our loss. His work will live on in reprint after reprint. I suggest seeking out more books by him and illustrated by him and putting them in your libraries.
Maurice Sendak was a man who would tell it like it is. There are some jaw dropping and truly funny interviews with Maurice Sendak out there. He may not be the Mr. Rogers-type, but I have bucketloads of respect for this man. Steve Carell's 2 part interview with Maurice Sendak a few months back is HIGHLY recommended.
And now... I'll leave you with some pictures of books he illustrated, wrote, and wrote & illustrated from my collection... not all of them, but a good smattering.
What Do You Say, Dear? by Seslye Joslin
What Do You Do, Dear? by Seslye Joslin
Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow
Little Bear's Vist by Else Holmelund Minarik
Little Bear's Friend by Else Holmelund Minarik
A Kiss for Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Dear Milli by Grimm
The Miami Giant by Arthur Yorinks
Nutcracker by E.T. Hoffmann
Pleasant Fieldmouse by Jan Wahl
The Cunning Little Vixen by Rudolf Tesnohlidek
I'll Be You and You Be Me by Ruth Krauss
The Big Book of Peace by Ann Durell
Swine Lake with James Marshall
The Griffin and the Minor Canon by Frank R. Stockton
What Can You do with a Shoe? by Beatrice Schenk de Reginers
I Saw Esau by Iona Opie
A Perfect Friend by Reynolds Price
Hurry Home, Candy by Meindert deJong
You Can't Get There From Here by Ogden Nash
Fly By Night by Randall Jerrell
Shadrach by Meindert deJong
The Juniper Tree and Other Tales From Grimm (Single Volume Edition) - by Grimm
The Wheel on the School by Meidert deJong
Dwarf Long-Nose by Wilhelm Hauff
The Animal Family by Randall Jerrell
The Wonderful Farm by Marcel Ayme
She Loves Me... She Loves Me Not... by Robert Keeshan (AKA Captain Kangaroo)
Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer
The Velveteen Rabbit (Best in Children's Books Volume 35)
Rest in peace, sir. Good night, sleep tight, don't let the zipperump-a-zoos bite.
Other Maurice Sendak related books missing from the above pictures (most are must haves):
Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh
Outside Over There by Grimm
The Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry
One Was Johnny
Alligators All Around
The Singing Hill by Meindert DeJong
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Father Bear Comes Home by Else Holmelund Minarik
Seven Tales by H. C. Anderson by Hans Christian Anderson
Let's Be Enemies by Janice May Udry
The Sign on Rosie's Door
Seven Little Monsters
AND MANY OTHERS!