I'm just going to let the obituaries speak for themselves here:
I remember the first time I saw a Maurice Sendak book. It was In The Night Kitchen. I was eleven or twelve, and had been given a small allowance by my parents to buy my littlest sister, who did not read, books, if I would read them to her. I loved books and reading aloud. In The Night Kitchen was liberating, transgressive, and a dream come to life: I understood the nakedness, could not understand why all the chefs were Oliver Hardy but loved that all the chefs were Oliver Hardy. Years later I discovered Little Nemo in Slumberland, and In The Night Kitchen came into focus.
Maurice Sendak looks like one of his own creations: beady eyes, pointy eyebrows, the odd monsterish tuft of hair and a reputation for fierceness that makes you tip-toe up the path of his beautiful house in Connecticut like a child in a fairytale. Sendak has lived here for 40 years – until recently with his partner Eugene, who died in 2007; and now alone with his dog, Herman (after Melville), a large alsatian who barges to the door to greet us. "He's German," says Sendak, getting up from the table where he is doing a jigsaw puzzle of a monster from his most famous book, Where the Wild Things Are. Sotto voce, he adds: "He doesn't know I'm Jewish."
I didn't set out to make children happy. Or make life better for them. Or easier for them.... I like them as few and for between as I do adults. Maybe a bit more because I really don't like adults.
In 1993, the great Art Spiegelman visited Maurice Sendak and drew the experience for the New Yorker. With the passing of Mr. Sendak, the magazine has unlocked the two page comic – as suggested Neil Gaiman on Twitter. Thank you to the New Yorker for making this available to all.
Sendak appeared on Fresh Air with Terry Gross several times over the years. In 1989, he told Terry Gross that he didn't ever write with children in mind — but that somehow what he wrote turned out to be for children nonetheless.
Good night, Sir, you will be missed.