Maurice Sendak, one of the most important children's writer and illustrator of our time, died today. He brought fantasy into the reader's imagination. He also wrote operas and ballets for the stage and television. Where the Wild Things are is one of my favorite books. He was 83. He will be missed.
In a recent NPR Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross, he said that the following two lines from his latest book Bumble-ardy sum up his work and his life:
When his aunt returns she says, "Okay smarty, you've had your party
but never again." Bumble-ardy replies, "I promise, I swear, I won't ever
Sendak said that he worked on Bumble-ardy while taking care of his longtime partner, Eugene Glynn, who died of lung cancer in 2007.
"When I did Bumble-ardy, I was so intensely aware of death," he says. "Eugene, my friend and partner, was dying here in the house when I did Bumble-ardy. I did Bumble-ardy
to save myself. I did not want to die with him. I wanted to live as any
human being does. But there's no question that the book was affected by
what was going on here in the house. ... Bumble-ardy was a
combination of the deepest pain and the wondrous feeling of coming into
my own. And it took a long time. It took a very long time."
Read the interview here.