When I started this blog, I knew I would eventually write about Maurice Sendak.
That eventually became today.
He was my very first illustration hero.
How many times did I take out “Where The Wild Things Are” from the Finkelstein Memorial Library? Why did I want to become an illustrator?
What was the reason I wanted to attend Parsons School of Design?
The answer to all of those questions is Maurice Sendak.
When I was 16, I bought my very own copy of “Where The Wild Things Are”. To finally own my own copy of this masterpiece was my birthday present to myself.
When I turned 18, my college roommate bought me a set of the magical “Nutshell Library “ with the tiny and wonderful volumes of “Chicken Soup with Rice”, “Pierre”, “Alligators All Around” and “One was Johnny”.
People always gave me books by him.
As an illustration student at Parsons, I waited patiently until the year I would have been eligible to take his Children’s Book Illustration class but, to my lifelong disappointment, he decided he was not going to be teaching that class any longer.
I was heartbroken and reluctantly took a different Children’s Book Illustration class. Maurice Sendak was invited to come and talk to our class. He brought the proofs for his latest book, “Outside Over There” and I made sure to pack my copy of “Where The Wild Things Are”.
He signed my book and it is one of my most treasured possessions.
As a mother, his books were the first ones I wanted to read to my child. And read them, I did. “In the Night Kitchen”, “Little Bear”, “Pierre” and of course, “Where The Wild Things Are”. We had a video tape of “Where The Wild Things Are” and we listened endlessly but joyfully to Carole King’s musical “Really Rosie” based on his wonderful stories about his Brooklyn childhood.
Maurice Sendak has been crosshatched into my childhood, my adulthood and my motherhood. He will always be an inseparable part of my life as an artist and illustrator.
May Mozart play for you when you arrive.
Wild Thing From “Teaching Poetry, Yes You Can” by Jacqueline Sweeney (Scholastic 1993) My homage to M.S.