As a parent, Maurice Sendak’s post-Where The Wild Things Are interviews totally make me regret not reading my kids more Maurice Sendak books when they were little-little.
Back when Where the Wild Things Are was adapted for the screen, Sendak was asked about kids who might be scared by the film- and spoke what some parents might find refreshing words about bubble-wrapping kids for the big, scary world. Sendak said:
“If they can’t handle it, go home. Or wet your pants. Do whatever you like. But it’s not a question that can be answered… This concentration on kids being scared, as though we as adults can’t be scared. Of course we’re scared. I’m scared of watching a TV show about vampires. I can’t fall asleep. It never stops.”
The In The Night Kitchen and Chicken Soup With Rice author was asked again about the scaredy-cat issue when he released his newest work, a book called Bumble-Ardy. Unsurprisingly, Sendak was similarly unconcerned with whining parents, and said as much in post-publishing publicity.
Now the plain-spoken author is the subject of a new, short documentary from the Tate. In the piece, Sendak denies his work are “children’s books.” He says:
“How do you set out to write a children’s book? It’s a lie… The magic of childhood and the strangeness of childhood, the uniqueness that makes us see things that other people don’t see.”
When asked about sequels to Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak huffs:
“Go to hell … go to hell. I’m not a whore, I don’t do those things.”
Watch the full clip below, and another of the initial comments by Sendak in 2009 about Where the Wild Things Are: