Scary Stuff When You’re a Kid
The death of Maurice Sendak got me thinking about the things that scared me when I was a kid. One of the things I love about Maurice Sendak’s work is that it is a little weird and a little scary. It’s not sanitized. It’s got personality!
Everyone talks about how The Wild Things were scary. But for me, the scariest character from Maurice Sendak’s books was the Robber from One Was Johnny. I had a thing about robbers that I think goes back to seeing a 60 Minutes report about home burglaries. It scared the shit out of me. I still remember the advice from that segment: pretend you are asleep. Scary! And actually our house growing up was burglarized! So I was right to be worried.
But kids find lots of stuff scary. I also thought that the wind in Chicken Soup with Rice was scary.
Way scarier than the Witches in the October page.
And those were just the kid’s books. I also used to look through a book my parents had around, The History of Art. What parent wouldn’t be happy to find their child looking through The History of Art! But my favorite pages were the weird and scary ones.
Hubert and/or Jan Van Eyck. Hell and skeletons and damnation!
Hieronymus Bosch. What the hell is going on here?
Maybe I shouldn’t have been looking at such weird and scary stuff. But being a kid can be weird and scary, so I guess I’m glad that Maurice Sendak let kids know that that was okay.