Posted on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012 by Russ Fischer
“What a transcendent life this is, doing that I’m doing everything I want to do.” – Maurice Sendak, 2009
Maurice Sendak, the author famous for books like Where the Wild Things Are, Outside Over There, and In the Night Kitchen, passed away today at 83. The New York Times reports that complications from a recent stroke were the cause of death. While Sendak’s books were typically marketed as children’s books, he did not like to be called a children’s author. Rather, Sendak simply called himself an author; it was merely that other people saw his concoctions of text and masterful illustration as children’s material.
Sendak’s books are beautiful due in part to the manner in which they use a peculiar brand of fantastic storytelling to express sensations ranging from elation to dread, in ways that are intimately, instantly familiar. Sendak’s work was not confrontational. It was supremely communicative; his books told kids, and everyone, that they’re not the only ones who fear and desire all the things we do.
Maurice Sendak released Bumble-Ardy, the first book he both wrote and illustrated in 30 years, last September. The quote above is from Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak, the documentary made by Spike Jonze and Lance Bangs during the period in which Jonze adapted Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. You can watch the specific clip from which that quote originates, as well as the entire film, below.
Here’s the full version of Tell Them Anything You Want. Just to make things more sad, note that the documentary is available on DVD from Oscilloscope, the company co-founded by Adam Yauch, who passed away last week.