Sometime around 2000, I heard, in error, that Maurice Sendak had died. I was sad about this, but did not discover that it was a false report until years later, in 2006. I wept Tuesday morning when I heard, once more, that he had died. I knew that this time, I wouldn't be getting him back. I wasn't as heartbroken as I was when Jim Henson died, but Henson died well before he should have. I knew from recent interviews with Sendak that, at age 83, he was starting to get pissed out about still being alive. He seemed ready to go.
Maurice Sendak, like Henson, had a strong hand in shaping my childhood landscape. Where the Wild Things Are became a favorite of mine very early on, and it remains so to this day. I am not alone in this by any means.) I did find the movie version to be enchanting, but I'd probably rather watch the Scholastic Storybook Treasures version.
However, it wasn't just Wild Things. My sister and I had a cassette of the Off-Broadway production of Really Rosie that we played over and over, memorized, and performed on our own. (I was particularly fond of "The Awful Truth.") We had copies of Pierre and Chicken Soup With Rice that got their share of wear. We also loved listening to Higglety Pigglety Pop! Or, There Must Be More to Life on tape, as read by Tammy Grimes.
Like Trina Schart Hyman, he was one of the illustrators whose work I have most admired. I was tremendously excited to find the Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of "Nutcracker", with set a costume designs from Maurice Sendak on VHS in the late 80s. It was a wonder and a delight.