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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Maurice Sendak Dead at 83

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Tue, May 8, 2012 at 8:05 AM

Well, this is awful.

Maurice Sendak, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83 and lived in Ridgefield, Conn.

There is, I think, one thing worth watching in light of this morning's sad news: Spike Jonze and Lance Bangs' extraordinary 40-minute documentary about Sendak, Tell Them Anything You Want: A Portrait of Maurice Sendak, which the two made around the time they worked on the underrated film version of Where the Wild Things Are. The documentary is excellent and smart and heartbreaking, and it's very much worth making the time for, and goddammit. I'd say something here about how much and for how long I've loved Sendak's Wild Things, but I know the same is true for most of you reading this, so I don't think I need to.

UPDATE: Annd of course the video got pulled. (Coincidentally/weirdly/also sadly, Tell Them Anything You Want was distributed by the late Adam Yauch's Oscilloscope Laboratories.) I was kind of hoping they'd leave it up for the day, at least, considering. Anyway: The film's worth tracking down. It doesn't seem to be on Netflix or iTunes. The DVD's cheap. Just, you know, watch it.

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