“He saw it, He loved it, He ate it”: Maurice Sendak, the Prophet Jeremiah, & the Bible

In an interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, the late famed author of children’s books, Maurice Sendak, who is probably most widely known for Where the Wild Things Are, gives this wonderful anecdote of correspondence with a young child:

Terry Gross: Can you share some of your favorite comments from your readers that you’ve gotten over the years?

Maurice Sendak: Oh, there’s so many. Can I give you just one that I really like? It was from a little boy. He sent me a charming card with a little drawing. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters–sometimes very hastily–but this one I lingered over. I sent him a postcard and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, “Dear Jim, I loved your card.” Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said, “Jim loved your card so much he ate it.” That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it.”


Little Jim was so pleased with his beloved author’s artistic reply he couldn’t restrain himself from chomping down the whole thing. It was that good.

This reminded me of the prophet Jeremiah and his childlike response to receiving words from the Author of the entire universe.

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart, for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts.” (Jeremiah 15:16)

Jeremiah found God’s words, loved them, and ate them. They were the very joy and delight of his heart.

When is the last time you’ve viewed Bible reading in this way? The Book of books is not just meant to be read, but consumed. It was given to be devoured by hungry human hearts.

Furthermore, God, like Maurice, is complimented–no, worshipped!–by this kind of Bible-reading. The scale of your love for God and delight in God is demonstrated by the way in which you respond to his letter to you.

Now, like Jeremiah and Jim, go pick it up, love it, and eat it.