To his millions of readers, of course, Sendak will always be young, a proxy for Max in Where the Wild Things Are, who runs away from his mother’s anger into the consoling realm of his own imagination. There are monsters in there, but Max faces them down before returning to his mother for reconciliation and dinner. Sendak’s own exile took rather longer to resolve. The monsters from Wild Things were based on his own relatives. They would visit his house in Brooklyn when he was growing up (“All crazy – crazy faces and wild eyes”) and pinch his cheeks until they were red.
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