Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Mr. Sendak,

I read a lovely article about you in the NY Times this week. I would like to say Happy Birthday. But I would also like to say that I am a bit angry with you after reading the article. I hope that perhaps the article did not accurately portray your attitude towards your legacy. I know that sometimes a person can say something casually that is interpreted to heavily. But still.

I grew up reading your books. Or, perhaps more accurately, having them read to me. I know that 'Where the Wild Things Are' is not your favorite book. But it is one of mine. And now that I have a little boy of my own, there are layers to the book that I appreciate even more. My not-so-wolf-like boy even dressed up in a Max costume for his second Halloween.

When I was a bit older, I had your illustrated version of George MacDonald's 'The Light Princess,' on my bookshelf. Even before I could read, I would browse the pictures. I was very disappointed because the baby was so very homely. I felt the same way with 'Outside Over There'. I mean, it's a *baby* for pete's sake. Why do it have to look so troll like?

Then I had my second child. And perhaps, perhaps just because of you and your illustrations, when I saw how funny and homely she was, I could laugh and rejoice rather than wonder what mash of genes this poor child was cursed with to look so much like a troll. I could tell people with a smile, "She looks like a Sendak baby." And perhaps just because of this, she has a mischievious smile herself.

You want to leave a legacy like Keats? Mr. Sendak, I have to say that I was an English literature major and I was no academic flop, but all I can recall of Keats is something about a vase and beauty.

You? You influence my daily thoughts and references. I will never forget you.

1 comment:

Rollins said...

Wasn't he just being modest? It seems a bit harsh to be ANGRY with him for not putting himself in the ranks of his own favorite writers.