Happy Birthday, Maurice Sendak!

June 10th would have been Maurice Sendak’s 84th birthday. One of the best places to celebrate this great writer and artist is Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum, home to the most comprehensive collection of Sendak’s drawings, photographs, sketches and manuscript materials (10,000 and counting). Stand in front of Sendak’s final drawings for “Where the Wild Things Are” and be awed all over again by one of the best picture books of all time. The Rosenbach is kicking off a year-long exhibit dedicated to Sendak starting today and expanding on its permanent collection with new drawings and materials.

And don’t stop there: the rest of the Rittenhouse Square townhouse is also a window into Sendak’s personality. His long-time relationship with the museum started when he visited in 1966 to check out Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach’s collection on Herman Melville, his favorite author. He also reveled in the materials on Nathaniel Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson, William Blake and other writers who defined his literary and artistic tastes. It’s a jewel of a museum and should be on every visitor’s list of sights to see in Philly.

Continue your Sendak tour with a stop at the Night Kitchen bakery in Chestnut Hill. The original owner, Marie Tramontina, named it after Sendak and his story, “In the Night Kitchen,” about a boy who fashions an airplane out of bread dough. Like the artist himself, the bakery has the highest of standards. Its award-winning brownies have been featured on Rachael Ray, and don’t even get me started on the walnut tarts.

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