Thursday, February 09, 2006

CAI Week: 4 - Maurice Sendak

Maurice is really known for one book: Where the Wild Things Are. This is a classic kids book that almost needs no introduction. Growing up I was always wondering what the big deal was about. It was one of the first books that I had with a gold star on it declaring it the winner of some award or another. I didn't really care. What I did like was the actual layout of the book which completely differed from anything I was used to. Plus the art was this wonderful engraving style that made me realize I didn't have to be the most realistic artist to tell good stories. Something I hope still holds true today.

I don't have a lot to say about this book or this author, mostly because I'm pretty busy today. So here's some pictures of the mock ups to the final text as well as the Internet Movie Database entry for the film version being directed by Spike Jonze.

The book is oddly popular when you think about it for a second. It's one of the few books I can think of that have a kid who would be on ritalin today as the protagonist. This is a kid who hammered nails in his walls and hung stuffed animals from coat hangers. He then goes off to become king of the make believe monsters. There is no way in hell this book would get past an editor today. And yet it endures on its strength of character the same way Murphy Brown survived the cockamamy criticisms about her being a single mother. It's good to see adhd kids presented in a good light, that maybe it's not them but the situations they're forced to comply with that make them problem children? What Max needed was a space he could run, shout and stamp his feet. He gets this where the wild things live. Much like the Muppets I grew up with who encouraged you to simply have unequivocal fun. In fact I think the reason I picked up this book when I was at school was because I thought it was about those big monster Muppets.

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