Nightly News | May 08, 2012
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: There was a lot of sadness today among adults who were once kids themselves and those who now have kids of their own because word arrived today that the children's book author Maurice Sendak had died. He was 83 years old. He was considered by many the very best at his craft. And he taught more than one American generation about where the wild things are . Our remembrance tonight from NBC 's Kevin Tibbles .
Unidentified Woman #1: ...the night kitchen.
KEVIN TIBBLES reporting: Quite likely there isn't a story time in America that hasn't included the vivid imagination of Maurice Sendak .
Ms. ELIZABETH McLAUGHLIN (St. Chrysostom's Day School): Particularly the illustrations really allow children to fantasize.
TIBBLES: Sendak wrote more than 20 children's books, illustrated 70 more. Most loved, " Where the Wild Things Are ," published in 1963 , which tells the story of a little boy's encounter with some scary monsters. And it's a favorite of five-year-old Riley . It's also a favorite of the president, who read it to children at the White House .
President BARACK OBAMA: And Max said, "I'll eat you up!"
Ms. CATHRYN MERCIER (Simmons College): He really valued that time we call childhood and understood it as a time that was a time of joy, but also could be a time of sorrow.
TIBBLES: Sendak 's books aren't sugary fairy tales, often quite the opposite, dealing with the dark, fearful corners of a child's imagination. Sendak grew up in Brooklyn , a sickly child who passed the time drawing and listening to his father's elaborate bedtime stories.
Mr. MAURICE SENDAK: Childhood was not a wonderful time at all. It was very D-A-R-K .
TIBBLES: He even named the monsters in his books after his relatives, and once joked with Stephen Colbert , truth be told, he didn't really like children.
Mr. SENDAK: I like them as few and far between as I do adults.
TIBBLES: But adults and children loved his work.
Unidentified Woman #2: I think it's like one of the books I think about in my childhood. It was just really -- the pictures are so amazing.
TIBBLES: And perhaps, like Max , Sendak is now saying "let the wild rumpus start." Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Chicago.