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Why I’ll Miss Maurice Sendak

Photo via WPTV. Photographer: Spencer Platt, Getty Images
Photo via WPTV. Photographer: Spencer Platt, Getty Images

My heart sank when I heard the news today that phenomenal children's author Maurice Sendak died this morning at age 83. He’s best known for the classic book “Where the Wild Things Are.” But I have a fondness for him because of his musical “Really Rosie.”

“Really Rosie” was the second musical I saw.  I was in 6th grade.

It was about a bunch of bored neighborhood kids in Brooklyn who revolve around their budding superstar and ringleader “Rosie.”  One hot summer day, she convinces them to audition and produce her Oscar winning movie musical which as part its plot included the demise of her pesky little brother Chicken Soup.

It was as though Sendak had spied on me and my friends to come up with the story! Just like the characters, we would spent countless hours on my Brooklyn stoop or in my backyard fabricating our secret worlds and future award winning movies.  (And yes we plotted to "get rid" of our pesky younger siblings :)

Sendak was a master at capturing the inner worlds of children. He was never condescending about it.  He was simply genuine and seemed to have a lot of fun with it. In the process his books snuck in values, taught lessons on words and numbers and ultimately let kids know it was ok to be a kid warts and all.

American Masters has this wonderful lesson centered around Maurice Sendak that centers around Art and Imagination. Sharing it is a wonderful way to honor his memory. Also login to Discovery Education to check out the lesson and quiz on "Where’s the Wild Things Are."
Perhaps you have your own Maurice Sendak story or favorite book. Share them with us in our comments section.

"Really Rosie" is still performed today by children's groups. (See the production clip below.) If you’re not familiar with the musical, maybe you may know some of the books it’s based on: “One Was Johnny” a counting book“Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months,”  and “The Sign on Rosie’s Door.”