An Animated Christmas Fable by Maurice Sendak (1977)

Today we say mer­ry Christ­mas the Open Cul­ture way, by bring­ing in a piece of work from the late Mau­rice Sendak, the chil­dren’s author and illus­tra­tor who with every­thing he wrote and drew evad­ed the lim­i­ta­tions of that label. Though most of us remem­ber his books Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen from child­hood, when­ev­er our child­hoods hap­pened to be, few­er of us have seen his ani­mat­ed work. Above you’ll find a bit of it rel­e­vant to this time of year: Sendak’s open­ing sequence for Sim­ple Gifts. In it we wit­ness a shoe­less waif’s meta­mor­pho­sis into a Christ­mas tree which attracts and com­forts a pair of sim­i­lar­ly dis­pos­sessed tots. The 1977 anthol­o­gy film col­lect­ed six short films, all on the theme of Christ­mas. But only this first minute and a half comes from the inim­itable mind belong­ing to the man Time called “the Picas­so of chil­dren’s books.” The video then fea­tures Sim­ple Gifts’ open­ing remarks from Colleen Dewhurst, who reflects on and draws a les­son from this brief ani­mat­ed tale: “A per­son gives noth­ing who does not give of him­self.”

via Bib­liok­lept

Relat­ed con­tent:

Watch the Ani­ma­tion of Mau­rice Sendak’s Sur­re­al and Con­tro­ver­sial Sto­ry, In the Night Kitchen

The Mind & Art of Mau­rice Sendak: A Video Sketch

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on lit­er­a­ture, film, cities, Asia, and aes­thet­ics. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.