In an interview with the Guardian last year, Sendak said that the term “children’s illustrator” annoyed him, since it seems to belittle his talent. “I have to accept my role. I will never kill myself like Vincent van Gogh. Nor will I paint beautiful water lilies like Monet. I can’t do that. I’m in the idiot role of being a kiddie book person,” he said.

Maurice Sendak, American born author of Where the Wild Things Are, has died at the age of 83.