Wednesday, May 9, 2012
WILD THINGS, GERMAN SHEPHERDS AND MAURICE SENDAK
Tuesday morning I awoke to the news that the world of children's literature had lost the iconic illustrator, writer and recipient of the Caldecott and Newbery Medals, Maurice Sendak. He brought us wild things and a girl named Rosie. He designed sets for the award-winning Pacific Northwest Ballet Company's production of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite as well as the Houston Grand Opera Company's productions of Mozart's The Magic Flute and Engelbert Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel.
Sendak, a Brooklynite by birth, had a great love of dogs particularly German Shepherds. I came across this fact when I purchased a copy of The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete. At the time, we had adopted a German Shepherd Doberman Pinscher mix who was a bit of a handful and this book helped us 'train ourselves' in order to train him. Imagine my delight to discover Maurice Sendak in this dog book. The text talks about Runge, Sendak's canine companion at the time, their relationship and about the Monk's ongoing relationship with the writer/illustrator.
It was George Carlin who said "Life is a series of dogs." Deep down inside, Maurice Sendak must have felt the same way, too. He suffered a heart attack during 1967, learned his mother had cancer and lost "the love of his life" his dog, Jenny. Runge was born during the summer of 1984. His current canine companion, Herman, was named after Herman Melville.