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“There must be more to life than having everything.”
― Maurice Sendak

On Tuesday, May 8, Maurice Sendak passed away. Author and illustrator loved by many, he has truly sparked the imagination of generations and will continue to live on through his work.

Here are some of our favorites from the works of Maurice Sendak.

Marcie’s Favorite:

While the books of Maurice Sendack have touched the hearts and minds of many families, the book Alligators All Around has touched our family’s heart the most. Alligators All Around 
is an adorable little story that teaches youngsters the alphabet in a very creative and fun way. It portrays a family of three alligators through the ups and downs of daily life in their household. Not a traditional narrative, the book describes a series of alligator activities associated with each letter of the alphabet.

Alligators All Around is probably my son’s favorite book (which is a tall order since my son LOVES to read and has more than 100 books). His favorite letter is “G”, because it’s for “getting giggles”. I like to tickle him when we get to the “getting giggles” part and he squeals in delight in anticipation of the letter “G”!

I really think this book has been the key to my son’s progress in learning letters of the alphabet. Because of this book, he also loves “gators” now. We even bought him an alligator stuffed toy and he insists that his gator sits with him while we read the book together—it melts my heart every time! If you don’t already own this book, this is a must-purchase for your baby or toddler.

Jasmine’s Favorite:

 I am completely saddened with the loss of an incredible author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak. He was a part of so many lives with his enduringly popular books and has touched so many people through them. Where the Wild Things Are is a book that has been treasured in my family since my oldest brother, now 32, was a child. Surely, you know the book by now and Where the Wild Things Are was even made into an ever-so-popular movie.
Where the Wild Things Are is a beautifully illustrated book about a boy named Max who is banished to his room after telling his mom he’ll “eat her up”. Once there his fantasy takes journey. “That very night in Max’s room a forest grew and grew – and grew until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max and he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are.”

Where the Wild Things Are is still a popular book in my house. There are many nights my son, Ethan, won’t go to sleep until we have read it to him. With Max conquering his demons, it somehow allows his fears to leave the room. This book opens your child’s imagination and really shows the power our minds have to transform the world. Where the Wild Things Are is a book that we will always hold on to and pass down from generation to generation.

But the wild things cried, ‘Oh please don’t go — we’ll eat you up — we love you so!’ And Max cried, ‘No!'”

Erin’s Favorite:

While I love many Maurice Sendak stories, from Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months to Where the Wild Things Are, I have always enjoyed In the Night Kitchen . It is one of my two favorites! In the Night Kitchen  is a story about a boy who falls out of his bed (and clothes!) into the Night Kitchen. It won a Caldecott Honor Award in 1971.

Like other Maurice Sendak illustrations, the art in In the Night Kitchen amazes me on every page. I remember my parents reading this story to my brothers and I growing up. I didn’t own the book when my daughter was younger, but there were times we checked In the Night Kitchen out from the library over and over again-only taking it back to renew it for two more weeks! This year, my son received the book for Christmas. He loves the parts in the book where Mickey yells “QUIET DOWN THERE” and “COCKA-DOODLE-DO!”

I love the imagination in Maurice Sendak books and how memorable they are-each and every one of them. I haven’t read Chicken Soup with Rice: A Book of Months in years, yet every time I’m eating or cooking chicken soup, I say, “Stir it once, stir it twice. Stir it chicken soup with rice.” I can “read” In the Night Kitchen and Where the Wild Things Are without looking at the words once. Maurice Sendak wrote and illustrated many classic children’s books that my parents read to me. As a parent, I love his work even more and am happy to be building a new generation of children who love Maurice Sendak.

“And now,” cried Max, “Let the wild rumpus start.”

This article is written in memory of Maurice Sendak.