Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Sendak, Maurice

(1928-2012) US artist, illustrator and storyteller, of Polish descent. He began illustrating children's books with the US edition of The Wonderful Farm (1951 US) by Marcel Aymé, and has continued to produce his idiosyncratic Illustrations for new editions and translations of classic texts. His first picture book with his own text was Kenny's Window (graph 1956 chap), about a boy who has a Dream in which he is set several impossible tasks. Very Far Away (graph 1957 chap) is a recognition of a child's need for an Otherworld where it can escape unbearable reality. MS's reputation, however, took off with Where the Wild Things Are (graph 1963 chap). A boy, banished to his room for misbehaving, escapes to a self-created imaginary world, the world of the Wild Things, whose king he becomes. MS returned to the imaginary-world theme with In the Night Kitchen (graph 1970 chap), in which a young boy has adventures in an all-night bakery, and the more sinister Outside Over There (graph 1981 chap), derived from "The Goblins" by the Grimm Brothers; the latter, about a young girl who must find her baby sister, stolen by Goblins, helped inspire Labyrinth (1986). We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy (graph 1993) conflates World War II and Fairytale. [MA]

other works: The Sign on Rosie's Door (graph 1958 chap); Hector Protector and As I Went Over the Water (graph coll 1965 chap); Higglety Pigglety Pop!, or There Must Be More to Life (graph 1967 chap).

other works illustrated: Seven Tales (coll 1959 US) by Hans Christian Andersen, trans Eva Le Gallienne; The Griffin and the Minor Canon (graph 1963 chap) and The Bee-Man of Orn (graph 1964 chap) by Frank R Stockton; The Golden Key (1967) and The Light Princess (1969) by George MacDonald; and two books derived from Grimm, The Juniper Tree and Other Tales (coll 1973) trans Lore Segal and Randall Jarrell, and King Grisly-Beard (1973 chap) trans Edgar Taylor; Dear Mili (trans Ralph Manheim 1988 chap), derived from the Grimm Brothers.

further reading: The Art of Maurice Sendak (1980) by Selma G Lanes; Pipers at the Gates of Dawn: The Wisdom of Children's Literature (1983) by Jonathan Cott.

Maurice Bernard Sendak


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.