Today's bummer has to be the death of Maurice Sendak, the beloved and, to stupid prudes, controvesial author and illustrator. Like many great books intended for children, Maurice Sendak's works tended to be characterized by what I'd call "mitigated darkness". In his best-known books, Sendak's young protagonists leave the comfort of their homes and enter surreal dreamscapes inhabited by ominous, though ultimately benevolent, figures, passing through these dreamscapes back to the sanctuary of home, with a renewed appreciation of what they have.
Sednak's illustrations gloriously mix the grotesque and the whimsical, his monsters were simultaneously fearsome and comical. The ugly, charming creations depicted by Sendak (much like the Muppets) allow readers to confront their fears and master them... when one is the King of the Monsters, one doesn't have to be afraid of the thing lurking under the bed.
Is there a better tribute to Mr Sendak than to devour one of his books, preferably in the company of a brilliant, demented child? Here's an animated short based on Mr Sendak's most controversial (OMG! SKETCHED NUDITY!!!) and most surreal work:
Thanks for the imagery, Mr Sendak, and thanks for the tools to disarm childhood fears.