I received an email today, entitled "Goodbye Old Friend." Mr. Sendak does feel like an old friend doesn't he? He showed us we can conquer the night and the monsters can be ruled. He changed the world of children's literature and made way for wonderful books that face children's fears instead of cocooning them in the nursery.
My favorite Sendak book is Where the Wild Things Are, but it wasn't always so. After my "Max" came into my life, I began to understand this make believe world that feels so real, the world of imagination. I think the reason this story resonates decades after its publication is because we all have a Max in our lives. Even when he is getting into mischief, we welcome him to where he is loved best of all.
"Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children's letters -- sometimes very hastily -- but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, 'Dear Jim: I loved your card.' Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, 'Jim loved your card so much he ate it.' That to me was one of the highest compliments I've ever received. He didn't care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it."
Goodbye, Mr. Sendak! Thank you for the stories.