maurice sendak: first memories

When I got to work this morning, my Google Reader was rapidly filling with blog posts about the death of author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, at the age of 83.

I don't have any big thoughts about Sendak and his the power for good his work was in the world, so instead I thought I'd share with you a couple of Sendak books that aren't as well known and are, in fact, two of his works I remember best from early childhood.

Before I was born, my parents adopted a golden retriever named Satch (after jazz musician Louis Armstrong, whose nickname was "Satchmo"). This was one of the books they had in their collection of dog care manuals, and I remember really loving the comic-strip layout, as well as the adorable and mischievous pup.

This lushly-illustrated story with text by Charlotte Zolotow and illustrations by Sendak relates the quest of a child to find the perfect gift for her mother. I remember Mr. Rabbit feeling slightly threatening, even though he's kind and helpful, perhaps because he is more adult-sized in the illustrations than child-sized. Yet overall, it's a quiet low-key story with a sweet resolution, and a rhythmic feeling to it that was incredibly soothing when I was small.

Just looking over Sendak's bibliography of works reminds me how much of my childhood library was touched by his work. So thanks, man, for making my world that much more vivid and Truthful.

Cross-posted at the corner of your eye.

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