Saying good-bye to Maurice…

Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day, and I’d like to thank Maurice Sendak.  Since getting my first teaching job in 1998, I have read his stories to hundreds of children.  I have read Chicken Soup with Rice so many times that I can almost quote every month in my sleep.  I know you were expecting me to name his other, more famous book, Where the Wild Things Are, but I find this to be very entertaining:

I also collected more of his lesser known works simply because I loved the way he drew the pictures.  I ordered a book a few years ago that was hard to find in my area.  The book was one of my favorite ballet productions.

Just look at the “smile” on the nutcracker…that guy has a secret and he doesn’t play nice.  It cracks me up for some reason.

To conclude my love of this author and very talented illustrator, I must tell you that over 15 years ago the school library was discarding books.  I always went through the books that were being discarded because I felt like I owed it to them to give them a new home.  There was an interesting blue book with no cover on it what so ever.  I don’t believe I even looked through it because I saw Maurice’s name on the spine and grabbed it.  That night, I was looking over my new gifts and I distinctly remember a chill going up my arm.  I squealed and looked all around like I had committed a crime.  I had obtained a signed copy of a book and it was being discarded!  I felt like I had won the lottery.  The lottery for literature lovers everywhere.  So it is with a sad heart that I mourn Mr. Sendak, but I know that his work will live on through teachers like me.

“Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very hastily — but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim: I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”  ~Maurice Sendak
(This quote speaks to me on so many levels.  I see it, and love it, but I will not eat it:)
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