Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20, 2011

Today's date  May 12, 2012

page 218




i saw the news on television after I woke up ths morning at 7 a.m.  When I saw the news, I wondered if this dream I had just had was related to the author's dath.  Chances are that it is connected though I can't prove it, I'm dedicating this page to Maurice Sendak. In a TV clip, Mr. Sendak admitted he was gay, but could never reveal it because it would have killed his career which he loved doing so much.


5-12-12 -   DREAM -  Apparently I was in Milwaukee, WI, trying to figure out what happened to the group I had wanted to belong to that had broken up.

I only knew one person who had been the closest to them at the end, and it was my daughter-in-law Becky.

I contacted Becky and she said I could go with her to the store, so we got in her car and he drove like a wild woman down the city streets, which fortunately had little traffic.

We ended up going backwards around a corner and she parked in front of the store and jumped out to run into the store, leaving me in the car by myself.

Unfortunately, the car was still in reverse and she hadn't pulled the emergency brake which was on the far side of the car, and the street wasn't level and the car started rolling backwards. 


I put my foot over to the brake on the driver's side of the car, but from the passenger side  I wasn't getting a good hold on the pedal and I started rolling faster and faster backwards.


I tried desperately to stop the car, and the street ended in a parking lot just a block away and how I managed not to hit any cars I don't knew, but the car rolled all the way through the parking lot without hitting any cars.  Somehow I managed to change the direction of the car by pulling on the lever in the center of the floorboard and now the car went forward because the gas pedal was stuck down and new I did hit several cars and that finally stopped me.  Unfortunately I now was responsible of riot only crumpling the car I was in, but two others I ran into.


I don't remember calling the police but the law says you have to, but I somehow ended up at home again - without Becky.  Apparently I walked there.


On a table in the house,, laying loose all by itself was a map - a colorful one, with a circle on it and marked 'TV station'.  I got the impression it was in a southern city and apparently the group had tried to purchase the TV station and failed and the group broke up.


 I saw a small box on a table and wondered what was in it.  When I opened it, there was a tiny little brown bunny rabbit inside it.  It whimpered a bit when I opened the box and I saw that it was in fresh newspaper strips, so I quickly closed the box so it couldn't jump out.  Across the ay, I saw a clean round terrarium with a lid partly off of it, and inside was more fresh newspaper strips and a green frog about two inches high and wide. 


I wondered who these little creatures belonged to and I was going to call my husband to find out when I heard a commotion out on the street and when I looked out the window, I saw him running down the street with a camera in his hands, trying to photograph something quickly on the run.


I ran outside to find out what was so exciting to photograph and when I got outside, I could hear a thudding sound and then a whole crowd of people voice a loud   "awwwww" sadly"  so I ran around the corner to see what had happened.


Standing next to a short fence, a little girl in a pink dress was standing there, crying softly.  Apparently she had been dancing and doing acrobatics for the crowd of people fe4l on her backside instead.


I wanted to stay and see what the crowd and my husband was going to do about it, but I had to get back to the bunny and the frog who needed my attention.



Maurice Sendak at his Ridgefield, Conn., home with his German Shepherd, Herman, in 2006. More Photos »

Maurice Sendak, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83. s

"If, as a parent, you could really listen to his stories, you would learn more about your children than a hundred 'parenting' books could teach you."
JBT, Santa Monica

The cause was complications of a recent stroke, said Michael di Capua, his longtime editor. Mr. Sendak, who died at Danbury Hospital, lived nearby in Ridgefield, Conn.

Roundly praised, intermittently censored and occasionally eaten, Mr. Sendak’s books were essential ingredients of childhood for the generation born after 1960 or thereabouts, and in turn for their children. He was known in particular for more than a dozen picture books he wrote and illustrated himself, most famously “Where the Wild Things Are,” which was simultaneously genre-breaking and career-making when it was published by Harper & Row in 1963.

Among the other titles he wrote and illustrated, all from Harper & Row, are “In the Night Kitchen” (1970) and “Outside Over There” (1981), which together with “Where the Wild Things Are” form a trilogy; “The Sign on Rosie’s Door” (1960); “Higglety Pigglety Pop!” (1967); and “The Nutshell Library” (1962), a boxed set of four tiny volumes comprising “Alligators All Around,” “Chicken Soup With Rice,” “One Was Johnny” and “Pierre.”

In September, a new picture book by Mr. Sendak, “Bumble-Ardy” — the first in 30 years for which he produced both text and illustrations — was issued by HarperCollins Publishers. The book, which spent five weeks on the New York Times children’s best-seller list, tells the not-altogether-lighthearted story of an orphaned pig (his parents are eaten) who gives himself a riotous birthday party.

A posthumous picture book, “My Brother’s Book” — a poem written and illustrated by Mr. Sendak and inspired by his love for his late brother, Jack — is scheduled to be published next February.

Mr. Sendak’s work was the subject of critical studies and major exhibitions; in the second half of his career, he was also renowned as a designer of theatrical sets. His art graced the writing of other eminent authors for children and adults, including Hans Christian Andersen, Leo Tolstoy, Herman Melville, William Blake and Isaac Bashevis Singer.

In book after book, Mr. Sendak upended the staid, centuries-old tradition of American children’s literature, in which young heroes and heroines were typically well scrubbed and even better behaved; nothing really bad ever happened for very long; and everything was tied up at the end in a neat, moralistic bow.

Headstrong and Bossy

Mr. Sendak’s characters, by contrast, are headstrong, bossy, even obnoxious. (In “Pierre,” “I don’t care!” is the response of the small eponymous hero to absolutely everything.) His pictures are often unsettling. His plots are fraught with rupture: children are kidnapped, parents disappear, a dog lights out from her comfortable home.

A largely self-taught illustrator, Mr. Sendak was at his finest a shtetl Blake, portraying a luminous world, at once lovely and dreadful, suspended between wakefulness and dreaming. In so doing, he was able to convey both the propulsive abandon and the pervasive melancholy of children’s interior lives.

His visual style could range from intricately crosshatched scenes that recalled 19th-century prints to airy watercolors reminiscent of Chagall to bold, bulbous figures inspired by the comic books he loved all his life, with outsize feet that the page could scarcely contain. He never did learn to draw feet, he often said.

In 1964, the American Library Association awarded Mr. Sendak the Caldecott Medal, considered the Pulitzer Prize of children’s book illustration, for “Where the Wild Things Are.” In simple, incantatory language, the book told the story of Max, a naughty boy who rages at his mother and is sent to his room without supper. A pocket Odysseus, Max promptly sets sail:

And he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are.

There, Max leads the creatures in a frenzied rumpus before sailing home, anger spent, to find his supper waiting.

As portrayed by Mr. Sendak, the wild things are deliciously grotesque: huge, snaggletoothed, exquisitely hirsute and glowering maniacally. He always maintained he was drawing his relatives — who, in his memory at least, had hovered like a pack of middle-aged gargoyles above the childhood sickbed to which he was often confined.

Maurice Bernard Sendak was born in Brooklyn on June 10, 1928; his father, Philip, worked in the garment district of Manhattan. Family photographs show the infant Maurice, or Murray as he was then known, as a plump, round-faced, slanting-eyed, droopy-lidded, arching-browed creature — looking, in other words, exactly like a baby in a Maurice Sendak illustration. Mr. Sendak adored drawing babies, in all their fleshy petulance.

When I was in preschool, my mother would read me “Where the Wild Things Are,” the story of a boy who becomes “king of all wild things” after being sent to bed without supper, before bedtime.

I loved that book. I loved it more than any other story book I had, the ones with princesses and frogs, bunnies and bears.

Somehow, the story about Max traveling to the land of monsters seemed the most real. As my other books found themselves in donation bins at the library, I kept “Where the Wild Things Are.” I still have it.

Maurice Sendak, the author and illustrator of the 1963 book, died Tuesday after complications from a stroke. He was 83. He leaves behind “no survivors, just millions of readers from several generations who were amused, scared and inspired by his work,” according to a USA TODAY story.

When I heard about his death (through Twitter, of course) I thought back to those nights when my mom would read me the book that both inspired me and scared me.

I didn’t understand it then, but I think I liked the book so much because I identified with the monsters, who, because of their immense size, were misunderstood. As an undersized girl, it made me happy to see that the monsters were more than what their appearance suggested.

Or maybe I liked the book so much because Max gets to have fun even after he is punished for making mischief. For a five-year-old, I was a sassy little thing, and took great comfort knowing I could just sail off to a magical place when I was in timeout.

“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”

Much to my dismay, I never had quite the same wild rumpus as Max, no matter how many times I closed my eyes and tried to imagine being Queen of the Wild Things.

Thankfully, I had the Sendak-illustrated pictures in the book to look at instead.

Sendak understood that childhood could be scary and that children had fears, both real and perceived. Looking back, I saw that illustrations are dark, his message is even darker.

No matter how many times my mom read me the part where the monsters ask him to stay, Max always came back home to find his supper still hot. He could travel to the land of the monsters, have a wild rumpus, and still make it home.

As I grew up I realized life doesn’t always turn out that way, but at that time I was inspired by the thought.

Sendak wrote other great books, like “In The Night Kitchen,” about a boy’s dream where he helps a baker bake a cake.

When he wakes up, everything is the same, except for the new memories he has. I liked that book, too, and was glad to read while doing research for this story that it is consistently on challenged book lists because of a nude illustration, which I never noticed.

Thanks, Mom!

But his best-known work was “Where the Wild Things are.” On my bookshelf, amongst history textbooks and AP style guides, sits the children’s book. I opened it yesterday and journeyed back to my childhood and to the land of the monsters.

Thanks, Maurice Sendak. Thank you for the Wild Rumpus.

Paige Cornwell is a Spring 2012 USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent. Learn more about her here.



A retrospective article about his life is available in the New York Times, May 8, 2012 Maurice Sendak.
The NY Times announcement of his death was also published on May 9, 2012 - announcement.
There are no immediate survivors.

One of his fan letters mirrors my final thoughts:
“Dear Mr. Sendak,” read one, from an 8-year-old boy. “How much does it cost to get to where the wild things are? If it is not expensive, my sister and I would like to spend the summer there.”

Other links of interest:
Be sure to listen to the end of this NPR segment-- September 20, 2011 about Sendak's newest book (the first he both wrote and illustrated in thirty years) -- Bumble-ardy, 
Interestingly enough Sendak has a thread of connection to Matt de la Pena (author of Ball Don't Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here, I Will Save You, and his first picture book, A Nation's Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis, illustrated by Kadir Nelson. It was de la pena's spouse, Caroline Sun, a publicist who connected Sendak with  Steven Colbert. Colbert's popular segments with Maurice Sendak discussing children's books can be found on his website:

Maurice Bernard Sendak (pronounced /ˈsɛndæk/; June 10, 1928 – May 8, 2012) was an American writer and illustrator of children's literature. He was best known for his book Where the Wild Things Are, first published in 1963.

Sendak was born in Brooklyn, to Polish Jewish immigrant parents Sadie (née Schindler) and Philip Sendak, a dressmaker.[1][2][3] Sendak described his childhood as a "terrible situation" because of his extended family's dying in The Holocaust, which exposed him at an early age to death and the concept of mortality.[4] His love of books began at an early age when he developed health problems and was confined to his bed.[5] He decided to become an illustrator after watching Walt Disney's film Fantasia at the age of twelve. One of his first professional commissions was to create window displays for the toy store F.A.O. Schwarz. His illustrations were first published in 1947 in a textbook titled Atomics for the Millions by Dr. Maxwell Leigh Eidinoff. He spent much of the 1950s illustrating children's books written by others before beginning to write his own stories.

endak gained international acclaim after writing and illustrating Where the Wild Things Are. The book's depictions of fanged monsters concerned some parents when it was first published, as his characters were somewhat grotesque in appearance. Before Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak was best known for illustrating Else Holmelund Minarik's Little Bear series of books.[6]

When Sendak saw a manuscript of Zlateh the Goat, the first children’s story by Isaac Bashevis Singer, on the desk of an editor at Harper & Row, he offered to illustrate the book. It was first published in 1966 and received a Newbery Award. Sendak was delighted and enthusiastic about the collaboration. He once wryly remarked that his parents were "finally" impressed by their youngest child when he collaborated with Singer.[7]

His book In the Night Kitchen, originally issued in 1970, has often been subjected to censorship for its drawings of a young boy prancing naked through the story. The book has been challenged in several American states including Illinois, New Jersey, Minnesota, and Texas.[8] In the Night Kitchen regularly appears on the American Library Association's list of "frequently challenged and banned books." It was listed number 21 on the "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–1999."[9]

His 1981 book Outside Over There is the story of a girl, Ida, and her sibling jealousy and responsibility. Her father is away and so Ida is left to watch her baby sister, much to her dismay. Her sister is kidnapped by goblins and Ida must go off on a magical adventure to rescue her. At first, she's not really eager to get her sister and nearly passes her sister right by when she becomes absorbed in the magic of the quest. In the end, she rescues her baby sister, destroys the goblins, and returns home committed to caring for her sister until her father returns home.

Sendak was an early member of the National Board of Advisors of the Children's Television Workshop during the development stages of the Sesame Street television series. He also adapted his book Bumble Ardy into an animated sequence for the series, with Jim Henson as the voice of Bumble Ardy. He wrote and designed three other animated stories for the series: "Seven Monsters" (which never aired), "Up & Down", and "Broom Adventures".

Sendak produced an animated television production based on his work titled Really Rosie, featuring the voice of Carole King, which was broadcast in 1975 and is available on video (usually as part of video compilations of his work). An album of the songs was also produced. He contributed the opening segment to Simple Gifts,[10] a Christmas collection of six animated shorts shown on PBS TV in 1977 and later issued on VHS in 1993. He adapted his book Where the Wild Things Are for the stage in 1979. Additionally, he designed sets for many operas and ballets, including the award-winning (1983) Pacific Northwest Ballet production of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker, Houston Grand Opera's productions of Mozart's The Magic Flute (1981) and Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel (1997), Los Angeles County Music Center's 1990 production of Mozart's Idomeneo, and the New York City Opera's 1981 production of Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen.

In the 1990s, Sendak approached playwright Tony Kushner to write a new English version of the Czech composer Hans Krása's children's Holocaust opera Brundibár. Kushner wrote the text for Sendak's illustrated book of the same name, published in 2003. The book was named one of the New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Illustrated Books of 2003.

In 2003, Chicago Opera Theatre produced Sendak and Kushner's adaptation of Brundibár. In 2005, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, in collaboration with Yale Repertory Theatre and Broadway's New Victory Theater, produced a substantially reworked version of the Sendak-Kushner adaptation.

Sendak also created the children's television program Seven Little Monsters.

[edit] Influences

Maurice Sendak drew inspiration and influences from a vast number of painters, musicians and authors. Going back to his childhood, one of his earliest memorable influences was actually his father, Philip Sendak. According to Maurice, his father would relate tales from the Bible; however, he would embellish them with racy details. Not realizing that this was inappropriate for children, little Maurice would frequently be sent home after retelling his father's "softcore Bible tales" at school.[11]

Growing up, Sendak developed from other influences, starting with Walt Disney's Fantasia and Mickey Mouse. Sendak and Mickey Mouse were born in the same year and Sendak described Mickey as a source of joy and pleasure while growing up.[12] He has been quoted as saying, "My gods are Herman Melville, Emily Dickinson, Mozart. I believe in them with all my heart." Elaborating further, he has explained that reading Emily Dickinson's works helps him to remain calm in an otherwise hectic world: "And I have a little tiny Emily Dickinson so big that I carry in my pocket everywhere. And you just read three poems of Emily. She is so brave. She is so strong. She is such a passionate little woman. I feel better." Likewise, of Mozart, he has said, "When Mozart is playing in my room, I am in conjunction with something I can't explain. [...] I don't need to. I know that if there's a purpose for life, it was for me to hear Mozart."[13]

[edit] Personal life

Sendak mentioned in a September 2008 article in The New York Times that he was gay and had lived with his partner, psychoanalyst Dr. Eugene Glynn, for 50 years before Glynn’s death in May 2007. Revealing that he never told his parents, he said, "All I wanted was to be straight so my parents could be happy. They never, never, never knew."[14] Sendak's relationship with Glynn had been mentioned by other writers before (e.g., Tony Kushner in 2003).[15] In Glynn's 2007 New York Times obituary, Sendak was listed as Glynn's "partner of fifty years".[16]

He donated $1 million to the Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services to commemorate Glynn, who had treated young people there. The gift will name a clinic for Glynn.[17]

[edit] Death

Sendak died in the morning of May 8, 2012, in Danbury, Connecticut, from complications of a stroke.[18][19]

In its obituary, The New York Times called Sendak "the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century."[18] Author Neil Gaiman remarked, "He was unique, grumpy, brilliant, gay, wise, magical and made the world better by creating art in it."[20] Author R. L. Stine called Sendak's death "a sad day in children’s books and for the world."[20] "We are all honored to have been briefly invited into his world," remarked comedian Stephen Colbert.[20].[20]

His final book, Bumble-Ardy, was published eight months prior to his death. A posthumous picture book is scheduled for publication in February 2013.[18]

[edit] Collection

Sendak chose the Rosenbach Museum & Library in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to be the repository for his work in the early 1970s, thanks to shared literary and collecting interests. His collection of nearly 10,000 works of art, manuscripts, books and ephemera, has been the subject of many exhibitions at the Rosenbach, seen by visitors of all ages. Sendak once praised Herman Melville’s writings, saying, “There’s a mystery there, a clue, a nut, a bolt, and if I put it together, I find me.” From May 6, 2008, through May 3, 2009, the Rosenbach presented There’s a Mystery There: Sendak on Sendak. This major retrospective of over 130 pieces pulled from the museum’s vast Sendak collection—the biggest collection of Sendakiana in the world—is the largest and most ambitious exhibition of Sendak’s work ever created and is now a traveling exhibition. It features original artwork, rare sketches, never-before-seen working materials, and exclusive interview footage. The exhibition draws on a total of over 300 objects, providing a unique experience with each set of illustrations.

Exhibition highlights include the following:

[edit] Awards and honors

Sendak was honored in North Hollywood, California, where an elementary school was named after him.

[edit] Bibliography

[edit] Author

[edit] Illustrator

[edit] Collections

[edit] Filmography

[edit] Recent and upcoming exhibitions (selection)

[edit] References

  1. ^ "Maurice Sendak Papers". Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  2. ^ "Author-illustrator Maurice Sendak's work is the subject of a show at the Contemporary Jewish Museum". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  3. ^ Braun, Saul (June 7, 1970). "Sendak Raises the Shade on Childhood; Maurice Sendak Sendak says he's ... – Free Preview – The New York Times". Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  4. ^ "Why Maurice Sendak Puts Kid Characters in Danger". morning edititon (NPR). September 26, 2006. Retrieved September 23, 2011.
  5. ^, Patheos on Maurice Sendak
  6. ^ Hulbert, Ann (November 26, 2003). "Maurice Sendak's Brundibar. – By Ann Hulbert – Slate Magazine". Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  7. ^ Ilan Stavans (ed.), Isaac Bashevis Singer: An Album, The Library of America, 2004, pp. 70–71.
  8. ^ Censorship Bibliography; Memories of Childhood: Six Centuries of Children’s Literature at the de Grummond Collection[dead link]
  9. ^ The, 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–1999, American Library Association
  10. ^ Simple Gifts at the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ "Maurice Sendak". NNDB. Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  12. ^ Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak Online Gallery [[Jewish Museum (New York)| The Jewish Museum exhibition
  13. ^ Maurice Sendak: "Where the Wild Things Are" PBS interview.
  14. ^ Cohen, Patricia, The New York Times (September 9, 2008). "Concerns Beyond Just Where the Wild Things Are".
  15. ^ "Tony Kushner celebrates Maurice Sendak, an old friend | Books". The Guardian (London). December 6, 2003. Retrieved October 13, 2009.
  16. ^ Bruni, Frank (May 24, 2007). "GLYNN, EUGENE DAVID, M.D.". The New York Times.
  17. ^ Bermudez, Caroline (August 12, 2010). "Famed Children's Book Author Gives $1-Million for Social Services". The Chronicle of Philanthropy XXII (16): 28.
  18. ^ a b c Fox, Margalit (May 8, 2012). "Maurice Sendak, Children’s Author Who Upended Tradition, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2012.
  19. ^ "Maurice Sendak Author of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ Dies at 83". RookPost.
  20. ^ a b c d "Reactions by authors and celebrities to the death of Maurice Sendak". Washington Post. Associated Press. May 8, 2012. Retrieved May 8,2012.
  21. ^ a b c "Also by Maurice Sendak," Where the Wild Things Are (Harper Trophy 25th Anniversary Edition, 1984)
  22. ^ "National Book Awards – 1982". National Book Foundation. Retrieved February 27, 2012.
  23. ^ "Lifetime Honors – National Medal of Arts". Retrieved 2012-05-10.
  24. ^ Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak at the Internet Movie Database
  25. ^ Frenette, Brad (February 16, 2010). "Montreal filmmakers team up with Spike Jonze and NFB for new Sendak short". National Post (Canada). Retrieved February 18, 2010.

[edit] External links





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