Maurice Sendak R.I.P.

All of us at AFi were saddened to hear of the passing of author and illustrator Maurice Sendak today at the age of 83.

Maurice, most well know for his “Where the Wild Things Are” book and “Really Rosie” series (aka “The Nutshell Library“) that he created, was also an illustrator on dozens of other books including the “Little Bear” series that also became an animated series.

Photo Credit Danny Neuman

In October of 2000 McFarlane Toys created a line of “Where the Wild Things Are” figures based on the original book.   From the McFarlane site:

Maurice Sendak’s ground-breaking 1963 book Where the Wild Things Are established him as a true visionary in the world of children’s literature. In 1964 he received the Caldecott Medal for the book, and in 1970 was the first American illustrator to be awarded the prestigious Hans Christian Anderson Award, for his entire body of work. Wild Things is still one of the pre-eminent children’s books even today, and McFarlane Toys worked closely with Sendak to create a series of characters straight from the pages of the book.

Former McFarlane Toys president Larry Marder tweeted some of his memories of that project today:

I’ll never forget first conference call between @Todd_McFarlane & Maurice Sendak when we pitched Wild Thing toys. Sendak extremely skeptical that it’s possible to make something true to his art in plastic. Todd said we’ll even have cross hatching.  Long story short? Sendak loved the toys so much he told us their names. Yiddish names after his relatives that we used on packaging. Needless to say those weren’t the names used in the film. Working on Maurice Sendak toys was an enlightening experience. Both a curmudgeon & a gentleman at the same time. My favorite toys of all.

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