It was with great sadness that I awoke on Tuesday morning to the news of Maurice Sendak‘s passing. The astoundingly talented author and illustrator was a predominant presence in my childhood, to be sure. I know I am only one of multitudes who have enjoyed his work over the decades his artistry has spanned. While I know the deserving remembrances of him have been fittingly pervasive over the last few days, I felt compelled to add my own small contribution, in honor of Mr. Sendak and his memory.
As a child, I was familiar with some of his best known children’s literature ~ such as the classic Where The Wild Things Are, with its fantastically creative illustrations that forever changed the way children perceived “monsters”, by having Max, its protagonist, actually engage with the creatures as opposed to merely fearing and hiding from them. Other popular titles in Sendak’s canon include the often controversial (due to one of the young characters being naked through a portion of the book) In The Night Kitchen and Outside Over There.
But the most memorable and beloved contribution he made to my childhood is perhaps lesser-known than some of the works mentioned above. In 1975, Sendak collaborated with the gifted and iconic singer-songwriter Carole King on a children’s animated television production called Really Rosie, which was also made into an album. To be honest, I don’t remember seeing the television show, but the album, and its accompanying Nutshell Library remains one of my most treasured childhood memories.