Is it just me, or is Maurice Sendak a little creepy? Don't get me wrong, the guy is brilliant, and I love his books, but working my way through his three most famous books, (Where the Wild Things Are, In the Night Kitchen, and Outside Over There) I am a little worried about the guy.
Actually: it's just the last one that is creepy. In the Night Kitchen is a little disturbing (wow, they try shoving the kid into a hot oven! Great! And--oh, he's swimming naked in the milk! So hygenic!) But Outside Over There is just not really appropriate for a two year old. Of course, I discovered this while I was reading it to Lucy. (note to self: vet picture books. Even award-winning ones from a brilliant author)
Here's why it's creepy:
1. The drawing of the baby? Creepy. She's screaming in almost every picture.
2. Goblins? Little hooded monk/druidish figures? In a children's book?
3. Switcheroo with an ice baby, that looks like a corpse. Very appropriate.
Outside Over There won a Caldecott. Not saying it doesn't deserve it, but I wish I could have seen the room of librarians deciding that one. I think they were all fanning themselves, adjusting their glasses, and taking tiny sips of water. "Ahem. Yes, it is...brilliant. And....strange. I guess...it wins?"
Of course, Lucy now loves this book. And wants to show me the "goblets" any time she thinks about it. I'm just hoping their creepiness is not contributing to the waking up in the middle of the night andrising while it's still dark phenomenon that we're in the middle of.
If I do find a correlation, I might just send that Mr. Sendak a letter. "Thanks for your beautiful (but creepy) books. Could you be a little less creative, so my child could sleep at night?