Maurice Sendak, Google and the TLS
by Lucy Dallas
The Google Doodle today is in honour of Maurice Sendak, as this would have been his 85th birthday. It is a dare I say, mash-up of three of his books; Where The Wild Things Are, inevitably; In The Night Kitchen, another brilliant early work but less well-known (partly because the hero's clothes fall off and he is almost baked alive in an oven by three giant bakers who all look just like Oliver Hardy), and Bumble-Ardy, a later story involving a pig's riotous birthday party.
In 1970, the TLS printed a speech Sendak gave on receipt of the Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator's Award at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, which you can read here (though beware, the reproduction is a little muddy): "As a child I felt that books were holy objects, to be caressed, rapturously sniffed, and devotedly provided for".
In an interview with Terry Gross from NPR (I can't tell exactly which one, I'm afraid), he said, in response to her question asking for his favourite comments from readers:
'Oh, there’s so many. Can I give you just one that I really like? It was from a little boy. He sent me a charming card with a little drawing. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters–sometimes very hastily–but this one I lingered over. I sent him a postcard and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim, I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.'