Maurice Sendak, had he not left this world in 2012 just shy of his 84th birthday, would have been 85 on Mon., June 10, 2013. To honor the award-winning children’s author and illustrator, Google created a doodle that takes Max to the island of the wild things, Mickey takes a plane ride into a bakery at night and characters from “Bumble-Ardy,” “Where the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen” all gather around a a cake with the number 85 prominently displayed.
The author and/or illustrator of nearly one hundred books written for children and the adults in their lives, the contributions to the world of children’s literature by Sendak cannot be overstated. His Jewish parents came to America from Poland and settled in New York, where the future author was born on June 10, 1928. While he got is start creating illustrations for children’s books written by other authors, it was his own books that have stood the test of time.
He won a Caldecott Medal for his perennial favorite, “Where the Wild Things Are” and received the Laura Ingalls Medal in 1983 for his lifetime contributions to children’s literature. His other books include “Chicken Soup with Rice,” “Alligators All Around,” “The Sign on Rosie’s Door” and “Very Far Away,” to name just a few.
Children and their grown-ups have been enjoying books by Sendak since the middle of the last century and will, in all likelihood, continue to so for centuries to come. His books can be found in every public library and just about every independent bookstore that carries books for the youngest readers.
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Where the Wild Things Are
Max is sent to his room and while there decides to escape to the island where the Wild Things live. Max and the beasts have a wild rumpus and all sorts of adventures. Max is even crowned King of the Wild Things, but he decides he must return home.
In the Night Kitchen
Mickey falls asleep and begins dreaming of sailing into a bakery at night. He encounters bakers and gets to take part in many fantastical situations. He even gets to have cake for breakfast! This book has caused controversy due to Mickey’s clothes falling off as he drifts skyward.
The first children’s book he published after a 30 year hiatus, this is a story of a pig turning nine years old who has never had a birthday party. He decides enough is enough and throws himself a party. But like in many of Sendak’s stories, the characters soon find themselves in out-of-control situations.
Chicken Soup with Rice
The joys of a simple bowl of soup are praised in this book that covers the twelve months of the year for young readers. The silly ways of eating the hot meal, the rhythmic text and the delightful illustrations have made this a favorite for generations.
Alligators All Around
With two- and three-word phrases and charming pictures, this is a great book for introducing the alphabet to children. It is also easy to read making it a good choice for children just beginning to read on their own. Another Maurice Sendak classic that will please children of all ages.
The Sign on Rosie’s Door
Rosie is an imaginative child who creates her own adventures. Friends were allowed into Rosie’s room if they knocked three times AND knew a secret. Of course, once the door was opened the friends would join in whatever was happening in Rosie’s world.
Very Far Away
Every child with younger siblings knows how it feels when a new baby arrives. First published in 1957, this is the story of an older brother who decides to find whatever he can when he goes very far away.