Maurice Sendak

The Worst Canonical Kids’ Books and What to Replace Them With

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Recently over at Slate, Gabriel Roth made a very good argument for the basic awfulness of Janette Sebring Lowrey’s The Poky Little Puppy, postulating that the only reason that book and books like it persist in our cultural consciousness is because of the nostalgia effect — my mom read this to me, so I’d better read it to my kids, etc. But there is another way! Why not replace some of those canonical (but actually boring, or lame, or morally questionable) kids’ books with some better ones, and stop the nostalgia cycle in its tracks? To that end, please find below a list of canonical children’s books that could be retired, and which books, new and old, to read …Read More

10 Dark, Creepy Children’s Books Every Kid Should Read

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Amazon’s editors released their picks for “100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime” this week. While no one’s knocking Babar or Harry Potter, the list felt like it was missing some of our favorite strain of children’s lit: the creepy kind. Although a few notable exceptions — Coraline, Where the Wild Things Are — certainly raise the hair on young readers’ necks, we were nonetheless inspired to put together our favorite children’s lit that’s more macabre than Mr. Popper’s Penguins. …Read More

Self-Portraits of an Illustrator and His Cat in 100 Different Artists’ Styles

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True Story, Bravest Warriors, and Adventure Time illustrator Mike Holmes drew himself and his lovely cat, Ella, in the style of 100 different artists. Filmmaker and artist Johnny Zito introduced us to Holmes’ series. The Canada-based artist pays homage to some classic creators — Calvin and Hobbes’ Bill Watterson, Where the Wild Things Are’s Maurice Sendak, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas‘ Dr. Seuss included. Contemporary artists also get props, and Holmes’ gender-swapped portrait, a nod to Jess Fink’s valentine fun project, is an excellent addition. See who got Mike Holmes’d, below.
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The Greatest Monsters in Children’s Literature

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Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are celebrated its 50th anniversary over the weekend. Sendak’s tale about a young boy whose imagination transports him to a land full of “wild things” was an early, rare portrait of the dark emotions children learn to cope with. “If I’ve done anything, I’ve had kids express themselves as they are, impolitely, lovingly… they don’t mean any harm. They just don’t know what the right way is,” Sendak said of the book in a 2004 interview. The many monsters in children’s literature have helped young readers face their fears, empowering them — and in some cases, frightening them to tears. Here are 13 of the greatest …Read More

50 Books Every Parent Should Read to Their Child

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According to a new study, the hallowed practice of bedtime reading is falling by the wayside — and that some quarter of a million children in the UK do not own a single book. This is a terrible shame, as regular bedtime stories have been shown to increase children’s performance in school, and are also awesome and can help create strong lifetime bonds, both with literature and with parents. So, from the peanut gallery of those who loved being read to (and still wouldn’t say no to a bedtime story): 50 books that every parent should read to their …Read More

10 Fascinating Interviews with Maurice Sendak

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Maurice Sendak, literature’s deeply passionate curmudgeon, whose grumpiness was matched by a warm and tender spirit, left a “wild” legacy of best-selling books, beautiful illustrations, and words that forever touched his readers, young and old. The author’s birthday is tomorrow. We wanted to celebrate Sendak’s life by revisiting some of his greatest and most fascinating interviews. His candidness, sincerity, and humor will never be forgotten.
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