"Did you ever hear of Mickey, how he heard a racket in the night and hollered 'Quiet down there!'" I hope so, as Sendak's 1970 book won every award for children's writing there is, and is one important title from his one-man canon of a kind of imaginative literature so far beyond only children's as to chuckle, as it does, at the limits of that genre. You already knew that, I am sure, from his Where the Wild Things Are, another ubiquitous (and justifiably) marriage of images and words. We all have our favorites.
Riddles are perhaps the most obvious, if subtly constructed, games of the seriously, sincerely playful Sendak. The books are simultaneously sad (as in appropriately sober) and riddling (as in dreaming). They are about people, after all, and history, and life stories. Evanescent, indeed. I wonder how many of Sendak's books struck readers like that on first consideration. Garner seems to have needed to reread this book, suggesting that evanescence is in the eye of the beholder. Elegy seems right, both for the brother, the aging Sendak himself and for his lover, Glynn. Yes, Sendak was gay. And Jewish. And politically Left. And an atheist. None of that is obscureable or