“Family-friendly” Is Not In Maurice Sendak’s Vocabulary

Come March 24 and 25, the Rosenbach Museum is hosting Sendak in Spring: A Program for Families, a celebration of the famed author of Where The Wild Things Are that includes an “interactive” and “imaginative” sing-along, the “The Wild Things Whirligig!”

What the Rosenbach left out of their program description notes, however, is that while Sendak doesn’t exactly hate children, he also doesn’t much care for people in general. In an interview last year with The Guardian, Sendak revealed that he hates Gwyneth Paltrow, and he’s happy Roald Dahl is finally dead. Elsewhere: “I love animals — I love animals much more than I love human animals.” Oh, and he’s batshit crazy, by his own admission.

From The Guardian:

I’m totally crazy, I know that. I don’t say that to be a smartass, but I know that that’s the very essence of what makes my work good. And I know my work is good. Not everybody likes it, that’s fine. I don’t do it for everybody. Or anybody. I do it because I can’t not do it.”

What finally makes Sendak such a aberration in the PC world of kiddie lit can be boiled down to this gem of a quote: “I refuse to cater to the bullshit of innocence.” A Sendak-inspired children’s opera? We expect it to be rife with death and Blakeian madness, and close with a collective tiny middle-finger raising to the author himself, should his critics be so moved.