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Books by Maurice Sendak – Books Recommendations – 05/11/12

Posted on: Friday, May 11th, 2012

Maurice Sendak, most widely known by children and parents alike, wrote for “Where the Wild Things Are” passed away this week.  An excellent article, published in New York Times , that reviews his life and work, as of this writing, has received 458 comments.  A telling tribute to the author and illustrator.  This week’s book recommendations begin with Sendak’s biography and are followed with some of his most famous work.

Maurice Sendak (Real-Life Reader Biography) by Ann Gaines
for kids aged 3 and up.  “Not all of the adults liked Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are when it was published in 1963.  In his book, a small boy named Max makes his mother furious. He gets into all sorts of trouble.  But it was just the kind of book that children loved. And it made Maurice Sendak famous. The year after it was published, Where the Wild Things Are won the Caldecott Medal for the best illustrated children’s book.  No one ever debated that Sendak was an enormously talented artist.
A bachelor all his life, Sendak has written and illustrated numerous children’s books.  He is a private individual who loves music and the opera and has earned a living designing costumes and sets for the opera, in advertising, and as an author and illustrator.  In this book, author Ann Gaines takes you ‘where the wild things are.’ ”

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak for kids aged 2 and up.  “Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. If you disagree, then it’s been too long since you’ve attended a wild rumpus. Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. Sendak’s color illustrations (perhaps his finest) are beautiful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder.
The wild things–with their mismatched parts and giant eyes–manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they’re downright hilarious. Sendak’s defiantly run-on sentences–one of his trademarks–lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child’s imagination.
This Sendak classic is more fun than you’ve ever had in a wolf suit, and it manages to reaffirm the notion that there’s no place like home.”  Review from Amazon.

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak for kids aged 3 and up. “When asked, Maurice Sendak insisted that he was not a comics artist, but an illustrator. However, it’s hard to not notice comics aspects in works like In the Night Kitchen. The child of the story is depicted floating from panel to panel as he drifts through the fantastic dream world of the bakers’ kitchen. Sendak’s use of multiple panels and integrated hand-lettered text is an interesting contrast to his more traditional children’s books containing single-page illustrations such as his wildly popular Where the Wild Things Are.”  Review from Amazon.

Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue by Maurice Sendak for kids aged 4 and up.
“ Oh, that naughty boy! No matter what his parents say, Pierre just doesn’t care.
“What would you like to eat?”
“I don’t care!”
“Some lovely cream of wheat?”
“I don’t care!”
Don’t sit backwards on your chair.”
“I don’t care!”
“Or pour syrup on your hair.”
“I don’t care!”

Even when a hungry lion comes to pay a call, Pierre won’t snap out of his ennui.  Every child has one of these days sometimes.  Mix in a stubborn nature, a touch of apathy, and a haughty pout, and it can turn noxious.  Parents may cajole, scold, bribe, threaten–all to no avail.  When this mood strikes, the Pierres of the world will not budge, even for the carnivorous king of beasts.

Created by one of the best-loved author-illustrators of children’s books, Maurice Sendak, this 1962 cautionary tale is hardly a pedantic diatribe against children who misbehave.  Still, by the end of the lilting, witty story, most children will take the moral (Care!) to heart.  Pierre’s downward-turned eyebrows, his parents’ pleading faces, and the lion’s almost sympathetic demeanor as he explains that he will soon eat Pierre, make the package perfect. –Emilie Coulter”  Review from Amazon.

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