Let the wild rumpus start!


Over the years, Sendak expressed frustration that “Where the Wild Things Are,” published in 1963, tended to overshadow his other books, which include many children’s classics: “Pierre,” “Chicken Soup With Rice” and the phantasmagoric “In the Night Kitchen,” often challenged because it showed its boy protagonist, Mickey, in the nude. He also disputed the description of himself as a children’s writer; as he told Stephen Colbert in January, “I don’t write for children. … I write. And somebody says, ‘That’s for children.’ I didn’t set out to make children happy. Or make life better for them, or easier for them.” That’s a fair point, and it suggests why his work remains resonant, because he was writing not for a specific audience but to express himself. This is the essence of art, the essence of what books and stories have to offer, that sense of reaching out across the void. And yet, as Sendak recognized — indeed, as he encoded into his very narratives — such connections go only so far.

more from David L. Ulin at the LA Times here.