Maurice Sendak, who delighted and frightened children for half a century with his vividly illustrated Where the Wild Things Are (1963), died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. at the age of 83, of complications from a stroke.

Sendak, who was born in Brooklyn from a Polish background, was most famous for his controversial Where the Wild Things Are, which depicted ominous monsters with mercurial tempers instead of the benign, cheerful characters usually seen in children's books at the time.

Sendak also wrote and illustrated many other children's books, including In the Night Kitchen (1970), Outside Over There (1981), The Sign on Rosie's Door (1960), Higglety Pigglety Pop! (1967), and The Nutshell Library (1962), though nothing ever reached the iconic success of Where the Wild Things Are, which won the Caldecott Medal, considered the Pulitzer Prize of children's book illustration, in 1964.

Where the Wild Things Are was made into a movie, starring Catherine Keener, Catherine O'Hara, Mark Ruffalo, James Gandolfini, Paul Dano and Forest Whitaker, and directed by Spike Jonze, in 2009. Sendak's My Brother's Book, a poem about his love for his late brother, Jack, will be published posthumously early next year.