Goodbye Maurice Sendak, Beloved Illustrator and GSD Friend

by Katherine on May 8, 2012

“Let the wild rumpus begin!” said Max.

The line from Where the Wild Things Are, the beloved children’s book, is probably one of the book’s best known phrases and lives on in other works, including the movie by the same title made in recent years, and even referenced in pop culture series, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Spike says it in one episode). The book was a beloved item from my childhood, and probably the best known work of Maurice Sendak, the well-known and cherished children’s book writer and illustrator.

Maurice Sendak, beloved children's book author and German Shepherd owner

Maurice Sendak, with illustrations from one of his best known works. Photo via tatiana.nyako via Flickr CC.

Maurice Sendak passed away this week, leaving a legacy of artistic creations for kids, and a lesser known love for German Shepherds. Sendak, 83, lived in Connecticut with his German Shepherd, Herman, as pictured by the New York Times.

“I hate people,” he said at one point, extolling the superior company of dogs, like his sweet-tempered German shepherd, Herman (after Melville).” – “Concerns Beyond Where the Wild Things Are,” NYT.

Sendak’s life, as you can read about in the linked Time’s articles, was plagued with illness, controversy, and a certain darkness, but maintained a balance with rather gregarious moments for Sendak and happier times. Sendak changed the happy and shiny persona of children’s books’ illustrations and instead gave children something deeper to see–the wild and unruly side of life, sans princesses and princes with endings tied in a bow.

Before today, I didn’t realize that Sendak lived with a German Shepherd. I already loved most of his work, but now I think his memory is a little sweeter in my mind because of his excellent taste in dogs. Say goodbye to Mr. Sendak by picking up a copy of one of his books, or just by reading one with your kids today (if you have them. If not, indulge in one yourself).

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodi May 8, 2012 at 10:22 am

I didn’t know he loved GSD’s either, it’s a nice tribute. Read one of his books, I’m sure he’d be delighted at the thought. :-)

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Sheri May 8, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I learned of his love for German Shepherds in the book “The Art of Raising A Puppy” as he adopted his dogs from the Monks of New Skete. (which I would love to do!)

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Sherri @ Woman's Best Friend May 9, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Hi Sheri,

A dog park friend of mine has a New Skete German Shepherd — I met him as a puppy and have watched him grow over the past year and he is a total joy and has been since day one. I want one — or two — too!

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Sheri May 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm

very cool!

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Georgia Little Pea May 8, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Maurice Sendak and Suess were my 2 favourite (children’s book) authors :(

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houndstooth May 8, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I’m so sad to hear that he’s passed away! I loved his books as a kid and I’ve loved reading them to my students at school. I didn’t know he had German Shepherds, either, but it does make me like him even more!

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De June 4, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Does anyone know what happened to Herman when Mr. Sendak passed away? I haven’t been able to find an article saying where he went to live.

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Katherine Katherine June 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

Hi De! Thanks for stopping by Life with Arie. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find anything that tells about Herman’s fate. With Sendak’s love for dogs, I hope that he included Herman in his will, though I do not know anything for sure.

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