I have never bothered to write anything in memory of a public figure before, and I may never do so again, so this should be some indication of how significant a figure Maurice Sendak is in my own personal canon and how deeply saddened I am at his recent passing. His Outside Over There, is probably my favourite picture book ever made, and his illustrated editions of George MacDonald’s The Light Princess and The Golden Key are too beautiful even to describe. What they possess, as all of his stories and art possess, is an understanding of the darkness that is a part of even the happiest child’s world. He writes to children, but he never patronizes them, never makes light of their fears. Instead, he takes these fears seriously enough that facing them becomes an act of true courage, and we begin to see that the fears of childhood always remain to be faced, that living with them is one of life’s hidden heroisms, and we find that he is writing to adults as well.
It grieves me that he will have no more stories for us.