Wonderfully weird children's author Maurice Sendak died today. We knew he was ailing, so we knew this day was coming.
Over the years, he did some really intriguing interviews with Fresh Air's Terry Gross. They had a tribute to him today. I found those interviews most illuminating about the wild and wacky picture book writer who freaked out children all over the globe throughout the decades with his scary, dark and absurd worlds. And how much we loved him for it!
My favorite was Higgledy Piggledy, though I can barely remember it. I do remember it was wildly popular at my school library. The regular circulating copy was always checked out. There was a second copy reserved for students in Gifted and Talented. Guess which magna cum laude college graduate, member of two academic honors societies and deans list seven semester poet-librarian-teacher was, in fact, NOT in Gifted and Talented? Yes, that would be me. Which means it took me ages to get my hands on that book. The want of it, as if it were an Elvis album and I was living in 1952, was one of the things that made me realize how much I LOVED books, more than most anything else (of the things that could be worldly possessions, that is).
Jennie the dog has everything but runs away from home in search of a more exciting life. This book is good for when you're little and just reading it literally, but as with so many of Sendak's books, it had more meaning when you're older. The most enduring things for children--picture books, board games, TV shows -- are the ones that have an appeal for the adults that experience them along with the children and that was certainly true for Sendak's books.