Tuesday, May 8, 2012


We've had a busy morning outside---a few limbs trimmed and dragged to the back fence, some of the Winter-long litter of plastics and glass and ice melter and a handful of rain-slumped sidewalk chalk making pastel Rorschachs in the tub---all bagged and into the bin, and big clumps of soggy-leaf debris and who-knows-what-mixed-in scraped from beneath tables and carts and the patio rug.     We closed all the gates and chased and kicked her soccer ball til we were breathless, and ready for a cold drink and some lunch.

After our cleanup and a quick Sloppy Joe each, I walked to the shelf of young-folks' DVDs and gently removed a movie we'd never watched, for I had been concerned that the mere countenances and hulking sizes of the characters might be disturbing to Sweetpea.    I slit the smooth, unmarred cellophane sleeve, sat next to her on the ottoman, showed her the cover pictures.   I explained briefly and gently,
"This is a movie you've never seen, and although there are big creatures which look a little bit scary, with funny teeth and big eyes, they are kind and helpful and really, really care about children."  

This movie was a sweet little rendering of six of the books, with In the Night Kitchen and Chicken Soup,  almost as if the pages were being turned and the story read.

The action was stop and go a bit, making it more like a bedtime reading with your favorite Grandpa assuming all the voices of the characters and either turning pages too fast or not quite fast enough for your anticipation.    And there were lots of songs---I've been humming CHICK-en SOUP and Rice for the past twenty-something hours.    I  think that big sweeping Pixar rendition can wait a bit. 

   I'd really forgotten that we had the movie, for it had been put up "for later" and it languished there for perhaps two years. 
Until today. 

  Today we lost dear, kind, smart Maurice Sendak, whose various characters and illustrations have peopled the bedtime stories and gift books and learning-to-read and movie experiences of little ones for six decades.    His little stories encourage a child's own story-making---the stepping out, the trying, the transporting to another realm of exotic  plants and unusual animals and adventures.    Think of something and draw a line around it, and it's real.    Imaginations are gently and enthusiastically nurtured---no flight of fancy is too fanciful, and if you put your mind to it, you can fly yourself.

R. I. P. sweet Maurice---your legacy will live on forever in the imaginations of children.


Chesapeake said...

As wonderful as his books are, my favorite Sendak illustrations are the Little Bear books. We will sorely miss him

How did Sweetpea do with Wild Things?

Beverly said...

We have this book, too.♥ He was a brilliant man.

Kim S. said...

I didn't know until I read it here. He was a wonderful artist. In the Night Kitchen was another favorite when Jessie was little.

Tobi Britton*pinkpixieforest.blogspot.com said...

I totally love your Beautiful writing and the descriptive wonderfulness of it all! (Yes, I make words up as I go!) Thanks so much for visiting and making me giggle!
Nice visiting you- Have a Happy Mother's day and Pink Saturday!
Sparkly Hugs,
Tobi and the Pixies!

Sandi@ Rose Chintz Cottage said...

Hi Rachel,
Thank you for your visit and your nice comment. Have a lovely Mother's Day weekend.


Marianne C. said...

I like the way you explained to your children before watching the movie..what a great intro.

Thank you for visiting and for your sweet comment. Have a delightfully happy Mother's Day.


freerangegirl said...

What a lovely tribute to Maurice - where the wild things are is my boys favourite, it was such sad news wasn't it?