Maurice Sendak 1928-2012

The news of Maurice Sendak’s passing this morning over breakfast sent a pang through my drawing hand. Hundreds, maybe thousands of new children’s books come out every year, but only a few will stick in the heart of a child as they grow into an adult. Even more so, few  illustrators have such a unique vision that their work lives on for multiple generations. Maurice was one such artist.

While Sendak had worked for many years on many books, he is best known for Where the Wild Things Are that was first published in 1963. It had already been republished several times when little Chad discovered it about 16 years later while first learning to read. How could I not LOVE the tale of young Max, my peer, having adventures with those enchanting beasts (although, I was decidedly MUCH better behaved than Max <cough cough>). I likely read the story from the library because until a couple of years ago, I didn’t own my own copy. However, the fact that a brand new copy can still be easily acquired is testament of the appeal Mr. Sendak’s story has had for generations.

A couple of years ago, my friend Cory Godbey had an inspired idea. Cory, an amazing illustrator himself, invited me to do an illustration in tribute to Mr. Sendak’s most famous work. I was very happy to participate, as were the other 179 artists who also contributed. Cory put them all together on a website called where you can still go to enjoy them.


Where the Wild Things Are
Chad Frye’s art for the “Where the Wild Things Are” tribute website


So, while there is a twinge of sadness in the news today, Mr. Sendak’s work will live on to entertain and inspire many more children over the years as it has done with their parents and grandparents before.



I originally talked about this Where the Wild Things Are tribute piece back in 2009 and showed step-by-step its creation in eight parts. If you’d like to revisit those details, CLICK HERE.