If the picture book world has one legendary figure, it's Maurice Sendak. Best-known for imagining the eye-rolling, tooth-gnashing mischief of Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak has written and/or illustrated fifty-years' worth of critically worshiped picture books. He's also been involved with children's television, creating the TV series based on Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear series, which he illustrated.
Sendak also created a short for Sesame Street in 1971 about a young birthday boy named Bumble-Ardy. Since then, he's fleshed out Bumble-Ardy's story in a picture book, which is due out in September. It's the first book in almost thirty years that he's both written and illustrated, and I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking it's going to be awesome. If there's one artist we can trust not to jump the shark, it's Sendak.
Look, here's the Sesame Street short:
Apparently, Bumble-Ardy of the book has missed out on celebrating his first eight birthdays due to his parents' being eaten. He is now a pig because, Sendak told The Wall Street Journal, "boys tend, generally speaking, to be pigs." Also, the swine drink brine, not wine (so no one will whine).
I can't wait.
In sadder news, author Diana Wynne Jones passed away this morning. Her following was perhaps smaller than Sendak's, but it was a loyal and loving one. I'll be facing out Howl's Moving Castle tomorrow.