Maurice Sendak was a friend of mine. No, I did not know him in the flesh, but I-like so many others-loved him just the same. In a world where children are always told to,”…be good, be quiet, don’t make noise..”, Sendak understood the celebratory importance of the wild thing, the need for children to unleash the beast within. In our need to control our children, we forget that their best defense against those wild uncertainties in a life unfolding to the “scary things” of the world is to become that uncertain thing. To make noise against the shadows is an important lesson in life. It is,unfortunately, rare. It is a treasure.
Where The Wild Things Are was controversial when it first released. I could not and cannot understand why, any more than I can understand the banning of his book In The Night Kitchen. I am certain the disapproval reveals more about those who are offended and less about the content of the books. To disapprove of a child who wants to take control of his uncertainties is to stand in opposition to freedom and that is truly frightening. To all of you out there who dearly love those treasured wild things, keep the memory of Maurice Sendak close to your hearts. Go crazy once in a while, and remember to say: “Let the wild rumpus begin!”