Friday, September 2, 2011

Maurice Sendak Still Drawing at 83

The irascible Maurice Sendak (right) has a new children's book called "Bumble-Ardy" (left) coming out this month (September 2011). Bumble-Ardy evolved from an animated segment for Sesame Street that aired in the early 1970s about a mischievous pig who has reached the age of nine without ever having had a birthday party. That changes when Bumble throws a party for himself and invites all his friends, leading to a wild masquerade that quickly gets out of hand. Bumble-Ardy is the first book illustrated and written by Sendak since Outside Over There in 1981.

Born June 10, 1928, the 83 year old American writer and illustrator of children's books is perhaps best known for Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963. Sendak has illustrated over 90 books in his long career including 20 he also wrote.

Sendak's illustrations are intended to not just mirror the text but to add something in his own voice - to create a second deeper story than that which was originally written. His illustrations add something unique to the story of which the writer may not have even been aware. Sendak's illustrations hide another visual story within the written story. The entire text of Where the Wild Things Are, for example, is only 39 words but his illustrations created a rich visual world around the sparse text in the 1963 book which sold over 19 million copies and was turned into a 1980 opera and a 2009 feature film.

Click on the heading above to hear an NPR interview with Sendak in 2005.

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