Still wild after all these years

I've been reading about the brouhaha over Where the Wild Things Are. Both Steph Aulenback at Crooked House and Monica Edinger at Educating Alice have already weighed in, but here's my tuppence worth.

Apparently the folks at Warner's Brothers are upset over the new Spike Jonze & Dave Eggers adaptation of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. Too scary. I don't see why this is a problem. So much better than too icky, too sickly sweet, or too much like everything else we've seen lately.

It's worth recalling that when Sendak's original story was published in 1963 it was also deemed too scary.

I love this remark about the early response to Sendak's book (quoted from an artcle in the Australian paper The Age:)

Where the Wild Things Are was published in 1963 and met a mixed response. Despite critical acclaim, some parents were concerned the creatures might be disturbing and Max a poor role model. "It is not a book to be left where a sensitive child may come upon it at twilight," a librarian reviewer wrote.

If I may be allowed a wiki-moment, I would like to quote the following little bit of loveliness:

In the book The Art of Maurice Sendak the following is noted in a conversation between a mother and Sendak:

Mother: "Every time I read the book to my daughter, she screams."
Sendak: "Then why did you continue reading it to her when she does not like it?"
Mother: "She ought to, it's a Caldecott book."
Sendak mentioned that he thought that was ridiculous and "if a child does not like a book, throw it in the trash."

(note to self: must find copy of The Art of Maurice Sendak.)

And isn't this lovely. It's the original dummy version of the book and you can read more about it here. You can also see the dummy for an earlier version of the story, Where The Wild Horses Are, apparently abandoned when Sendak decided that drawing horses was not his forte.

A final note (also from the article in The Age):
Sendak has said his work is about the "heroism of children in the face of having to live in a mostly indifferent adult world". Too scary? I'll say.


kittenpie said…
I admit I'm a bit surprised the nook gets that reaction because my kid, a notorious chicken who won't face Go Away, Big Green Monster quite liked it.

It could, of course, be made into one scary-ass movie, I suppose. It would depend on how it was marketed in terms of whether that was a problem, I'd think. If it's clear that it's scary, then parents can judge accordingly.

Popular Posts