Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What Sendak sends us

Maurice Sendak seems to be everywhere these days. With the publication of Bumble-Ardy, the first picture book he's written and illustrated since 1981, comes a plethora of articles and interviews, and every time I read one, I learn something new. There's a lot to the guy.

It's good fun to read some of his saltier comments (he mentions his mother with that mouth?). He's always insisted that the young aren't necessarily innocent, and he's proof that neither are the old. The details of his life give him good reason to make a few negative comments on the world, and that he does so with humor and hope is to his credit.

But what I especially come away with is that Sendak, this person who would like to die dancing, has a rich lifetime's worth of wisdom, and he's chosen to apply that wisdom to creating books for children.  Before places like Simmons granted the field academic legitimacy, before series like Harry Potter made it commercially attractive, Sendak decided to use his artistic skill and everything else he had to tell children honest stories they could appreciate on whatever levels felt right to them. He's still doing exactly that, and his work is probably a big part of the reason that other people are, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment