In the wake of Spike Jonze’s movie adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, there’s been a resurgence of interest in children’s book author Maurice Sendak. But the truth is, for those of us who grew up with his creations, we’ve never really forgotten. The raw emotion, joy and confusion of childhood he captured in those pages was so real, so close to home, that any one of us could instantly call to mind specific pages, images or at least the feelings we experienced while immersed in Sendak’s world. It would be interesting, then, to dive into Sendak’s new book – the first he’s written since 1981 – and see what’s changed, both in him and in us. Bumble-Ardy tells the story of a little pig who, in Sendak’s words, is “an outcast…deeply rejected.”

“I can’t help thinking of Bumble now in light of what I’ve been reading in the newspapers about that kidnapped and murdered Hasidic boy, Leiby Kletzky. I can’t get that grainy news photo out my mind. It’s taken from a street camera. We see him from the back. He has one arm extended out. It’s a very painful little picture because it’s him, you know, it’s him. And that little extended arm, saying to the world, Somebody, take my hand. It breaks my heart.”

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