Beloved author and illustrator Maurice Sendak died Tuesday (May 8) at the age of 83, but he lives on through his whimsical, genre-breaking children’s books and unorthodox characters.
There are so many of Sendak’s books beyond his 1964 Caldecott Medal-winner “Where the Wild Things Are” that have inspired children and adults for more than 40 years. Check out Zap2it’s crucial reading list of Sendak favorites:
“I don’t care!” is stubborn Pierre’s refrain in this cautionary tale, but with the help of a hungry lion, he certainly learns to care. Let this be a lesson, kids.
“Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months” (1962)
“In April, I will go away to far off Spain or old Bombay and dream about hot soup all day. Oh my oh once, oh my oh twice, oh my oh chicken soup with rice,” says the little boy in Sendak’s yearlong tale. He happily finds a way to enjoy chicken soup with rice during every month of the year with rhythmical words that children and adults the world over have memorized.
“Higglety Pigglety Pop!: Or There Must Be More to Life” (1967)
Written as a tribute to Sendak’s own deceased pup, “Higglety Pigglety Pop!” tells the story of a gluttonous Sealyham terrier who has it all but still wants more. “There must be more to life than having everything!” she says. She sets out to get experience in order to land the role of a leading lady in a play — and experience is exactly what she gets.
“In the Night Kitchen” (1970)
Mickey hears a racket that awakens him only to discover it’s the noise of the night kitchen, which he floats through dreamily — and totally naked, which got the book banned in many a library. But the innocent, simple drawings are just part of Sendak’s style.
This picture book is of particular note for being the first in 30 years for which Sendak produced both the text and illustrations. The somewhat dark tale — as Sendak’s are known to be — tells the story of an orphaned pig and his wild birthday party that gets out of hand.
“My Brother’s Book” (2013)
True, we haven’t seen this book yet, but it’s sure to become a classic as the last that Sendak wrote and illustrated. Inspired by his late brother, Jack, the book is scheduled to be released posthumously in February.
What’s your favorite Sendak book?