Tuesday, May 08, 2012

RIP Maurice Sendak

I think the question to ask today is not who has a special association with Maurice Sendak, but who does NOT have a special association with Maurice Sendak somehow? His reach was so broad- picture books, novels, even a production of the Nutcracker. Not my favorite, but a whole ballet! Impressive. My Facebook page is covered, today, with the quote from Where the Wild Things Are, when Max leaves. "Oh please don't go. We'll eat you up, we love you so..." And I can't think of a mother I know who has not used that expression to describe her love for her children at least once.

But my special association is with an even wilder, stranger book of his. In the Night Kitchen was the first book Simon ever read to us out loud-

Mickey, our dreamer/hero, wanders through the night, diving naked into "morning cake" batter, narrowly avoiding being baked into it by three Oliver Hardy lookalike bakers, and saves the cake by flying to a giant bottle of milk in a plane he made out of dough and bringing some milk back. Not before diving stark nekkid into the milk, of course.

Not exactly three adorable bunnies trying to steal some cabbage, am I right?

But I love it! It's so weird. We'd just gotten the book, and I hadn't read it in ages, if at all. Simon was so teeny, and he liked to "read" books to us, ones I thought he'd memorized. As far as I knew he could kind of recognize his name, and maybe sound out "Mac sat" in a BOB book. But he pulled this one out, never having seen it before in his life, and just started going. "Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter! We bake cake! And nothing's the matter!" How can you not like that?

I don't have a picture of the event, but Sendak has been such a part of my children's lives I made Penny sit down this morning so I could take a picture of her reading her own favorite Maurice Sendak:

Oh please don't go. We'll eat you up, we love you so...

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