The literary world said farewell to an icon today as author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak died at 83, from complications of a stroke. His book, Where The Wild Things Are was a staple from my childhood as I imagined the wild rumpus that Max got to enjoy in the delightful dream world he entered. As a goodie two shoes kinda kid, I found Max’s bravado both apalling and appealing.
What I didn’t know is that he also wrote a fun song that I get to hear fairly often on my favorite radio station WXPN 88.5 in Philadelphia on a show hosted by a kid in grown up clothing. The show is called Kids Corner; the host Kathy O’Connell and the song is called Pierre. Once again, it is about a recalcitrant child whose refrain “I don’t care.” gets him….well, you’ll have to listen and discover for yourself.
From reading through news stories today, it seems that Maurice’s art was a response to a childhood of frailty, illness, fear; growing up during WWII as Jew in the shadow of the Holocaust and feeling outside acceptability as a Gay man. Although his claim to fame is as a children’s author, he was also a songwriter and set designer. He collaborated with Carole King on the tv special Really Rosie.
His gems include “In the Night Kitchen” (1970) and “Outside Over There” (1981), which together with “Where the Wild Things Are” form a trilogy; “The Sign on Rosie’s Door” (1960); “Higglety Pigglety Pop!” (1967); and “The Nutshell Library” (1962), a boxed set of four tiny volumes comprising “Alligators All Around,” “Chicken Soup With Rice,” “One Was Johnny” and “Pierre.”
For me, Maurice made scary monsters not so scary after all and upon awakening, we somehow always end up home.
Sleep well, king of the beasts~
http://youtu.be/70U47cNi7sA Pierre sung by Carole King
http://youtu.be/syAtmgKqc9c Chicken Soup With Rice sung by Carole King