Wired's Geeta Dayal got a lovely remembrance of Maurice Sendak from Neil Gaiman. Sendak died yesterday.
As a parent, I read Where the Wild Things Are to my children. But [my daughter] Holly’s favorite was Outside, Over There, and I must have read it to her hundreds of times, perhaps thousands of times, marveling at Sendak’s economy of words, his cruelty, his art...
“What I loved, what I always responded to, was the feeling that Sendak owed nothing to anyone in the books that he made. His only obligation was to the book, to make it true. His lines could be cute, but there was an honesty that transcended the cuteness.
Too many parents and too many writers of children’s books don’t respect the fact that kids know a great deal and suffer a great deal.
I was 11 or 12, and had been given a small allowance by my parents to buy my littlest sister, who did not read, books, if I would read them to her. I loved books and reading aloud. It was liberating, transgressive and a dream come to life: I understood the nakedness, could not understand why all the chefs were Oliver Hardy but loved that all the chefs were Oliver Hardy. Years later I discovered Little Nemo in Slumberland, and In The Night Kitchen came into focus.