Best known for his work on ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Sendak illustrated nearly 100 books during his career, which lasted 60 years. Different from most authors, many books have been written about him, everything from books on his childhood to “appreciation” books filled with is illustrations.
‘Where the Wild Things Are’ was first adapted for the stage, and then it hit the big screen in 2009, grossing $11.9 million on opening day alone. Another of his stories, ‘Bumble Ardy’, was adapted for animation with Jim Henson and he was on the board of advisors during the development of Sesame Street.
Sendak had quite the personality and his life was not without sparks of controversy. The main character’s nudity in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ caused Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota and Texas to make attempts at banning the book in the 1970’s. This is the same book that won the Caldecott Medal in 1964, the most prestigious of children’s book awards.
He was the only American to ever receive the Hans Christian Anderson Award in the illustration category, back in 1970. He has also received the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and the very first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in 2003.
Though his books have always been seen as children’s books, Sendak did not believe that he was intentionally writing for children.
He is quoted as saying “I don’t know how to do a children’s book. I don’t even know what a children’s book is. I always know that my work is deemed suitable-more suitable- for children. I don’t believe that. But who cares? Who cares?”
As recent as January of this year the author appeared on the Colbert Report, talking of his disdain of E-Books, even then showing his humorous side. When asked about E-Books Sendak said, ”F*ck them, too, is all I have to say. They cannot be the future.”
We haven’t seen the last of his publications however, as one more was written, though it’s not known if it was finished in time. The last book made by Maurice Sendak was for his brother, Jack. “My brother’s book” will be published in February of next year.
Mark Bixler and Mariano Castillo, CNN
The Colbert Report