Sendak won the prestigious Caldecott Award (an award given for excellence in illustration) for Wild Things in 1964: One little boy loved the book so much, he was moved to write a letter to Mr. Sendak, which he answered. The lad’s mother then wrote Sendak again to report “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” Sendak considered this the ultimate compliment! (Wikipedia).
Maurice Sendak developed a love of reading and drawing at a young age. Health problems forced him to bed often as a youngster, allowing him time to read and discover a world of classic literature. When he was 12, young Maurice saw Disney’s Fantasia, and it was then that he decided he wanted to be an illustrator. Sendak also had a life-long love of all things Mickey Mouse, collecting on his favorite character and naming the main character Mickey in his book, In the Night Kitchen. Sendak never “wrote down” to children—he didn’t believe in doing so. He went on to design sets for Ballet (Nutcracker) and opera (Magic Flute). Mozart (the composer for Magic Flute) was one of Sendak’s “Gods”—along with Herman Melville and Emily Dickinson.
Mr. Sendak passed away in 2012, but will be remembered for his unique work.