“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 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).