The bulk of his work lay in illustrating other writers, but it was his own, far fewer, books which brought him countless international awards and academic honours, and made him the subject of many a thesis. At first, Where the Wild Things Are and its follow-up, In the Night Kitchen (1970), caused outraged shock at their robust portrayal of children's fears and aggression; Sendak's fantasy was always "rooted 10ft deep in reality", and with such passions as William Blake, Samuel Palmer and George Cruikshank, and the German Philipp Otto Runge, as well as the Brothers Grimm, he gave the glow of the old Romantics a contemporary Freudian edge.
The Wild Things were actually modelled, he said, on his Jewish uncles and aunts who racketed around his childhood, unpredictably and on the whole in a well-intentioned if slightly threatening vein. In 2009, Sendak, discussing Spike Jonze's film version of Where the Wild Things Are, rejected parental concerns about the story being too scary: "I would tell them to go to hell," Sendak said. If children couldn't handle it, they should "go home. Or wet your pants. Do whatever you like."
Full tribute at The Guardian
And from Richard Robinson, Chairman, President and CEO, Scholastic Inc. :
Maurice Sendak dies
Children's author Maurice Sendak, whose most famous work was Where the Wild Things Are, has died at the age of 83, four days after suffering from a stroke.
Random House Children's Publishers m.d. Philippa Dickinson said: "Maurice Sendak has astonished and delighted generations of children around the world with his remarkable books and we mourn the passing of such a huge talent."
Where the Wild Things Are was first published in 1967, and RHCP has said it is "currently finalising plans to celebrate 50 years of this iconic bestseller in 2013". The book tells the story of Max, who is sent to bed without any supper and who then goes on a journey through his imagination to the land of the wild things.
Sendak's latest book, written and illustrated by the author, Bumble-Ardy, was published by HarperCollins last year.