Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In a Nutshell

Hearing of the death of Maurice Sendak yesterday brought me back to being 6 years old and reading his Nutshell Library collection of books at our local library.  They were perfect sized books for little hands. They were cleverly written with amusing language and charming illustrations.  They were probably the first books I ever signed out of the library.  My favourite of the four book set was Chicken Soup With Rice.  But what I didn't know (until today) was that it became part of a musical with the words sung by Carole King!

His most famous picture book was Where the Wild Things Are.  Although I should have known it as a child, I didn't really connect with it until I was old enough to babysit.  I decided my nephew needed to have his own copy and so I happily presented him with it when he was around 4 years old.  It was one of the bedtime stories that I didn't need any prodding to read to him.  When my own son was born, this book was a necessity for our home library.

I have seen the magic of this book happen for other young children (particularly rambunctious boys) in my work as an elementary school librarian.  More than once, there has been a certain Kindergarten aged boy who for some reason has not yet discovered the joy of a good book.  I bide my time, and when I decide the time is right, then I read that class Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are.  I have witnessed the moment of transformation, like a wonderstruck epiphany where I imagine the child is thinking, 'Hey! This book is about ME!' And after that introduction to the world of great literature, that child is the first one sitting on the carpet, with eyes and ears ready for another great story.

I am privileged to have the opportunity to share the great talent of Maurice Sendak with my school community.  Let the Rumpus never end!


Faboamanto said...

Such sad news. So many childhood idols or idols of youth have passed away lately.

Beautiful post Phylly about the power of books and the memories of childhood. A lovely reminder that Sendak's art will live on.

Phylly3 said...

Thanks so much for your comment Fabo! There were so many of his books I could have mentioned but those were the two which stood out for me.

jazzbaby1 said...

"The Sign on Rosie's Door" is a favorite in our house.

Fanny/iz4blue said...

As soon as I heard the news I checked out a bunch of his books moreover discovered his latest publication: Bumble-ardy which fortuitously I got to read as guest reader in my third grade class. I'm saying fortuitously because it was a blind guess that the book turned out to be about a piggie celebrating his ninth birthday. So can you tell how I love children's books? LOL 
My attachment is purely from reading them with my brood as I didn't know his work in my childhood. (I had a hard time grasping Dr. Seuss illustrations for awhile :) 
 I was lucky to get passed Sendak's works on DVD though Where The Wild Things Are frightened my eldest and Really Rosie was a happy discovery! Unbelievable you only just found out! 
My favorite is The Night Kitchen read by himself and to my astonishment the kids uttered "why is Mickey naked??" (I'm aware about the fuss he got back then)
Thanks for adjusting the settings! What a breeze and I really tried out ALL the browsers I have on my iPad!!

Phylly3 said...

@jazzbaby1 - Gee, I thought I already commented, but I guess not! I am sad to say, I was not familiar with that title, perhaps because of the 4th of July theme?

@Fanny - I was aware of "In the Night Kitchen" and probably borrowed it from the Public Library for my kids. I am more familiar with some of the books he didn't write but illustrated. For instance, the Little Bear series was always a favourite I mine, that I should have mentioned. The animated series doesn't do it justice.

Phylly3 said...

"of" mine (I should have written!).

Fanny/iz4blue said...

My kids have regularly disappointed me in their taste
. The Little Bear series is one of them! LOL these days I'm jealous at the rate my daughter reads books and I desperately want to read some on her stack - sigh - too much to read syndrome LOL

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