Saturday, October 17, 2009

My History with Where the Wild Things Are

I have been trying to remember when Where the Wild Things Are came into my life. I was 7 years old when the book came out, but we didn't have new books in our house much back in the day. I don't think I really got my hands on a copy until my babysitting years. Thinking of this book, I usually flash to a college children's literature course. I had to compile a card file of books for elementary school children. I had to read every book I put in the file. I had to have a minimum of 200 books. I remember sitting in the children's section of my hometown library, over my spring break, with piles of books around me. The one book I could not put back on the shelf was Where the Wild Things Are. A simple story of childhood rebellion and adventure, with the comfort of home and family. The illustrations were exotic and endearing. I was so enamored, I bought a paperback copy. At 20 years old, I kept it on my bookshelf with all my favorite books. It stuck out. The book got old, it traveled, it got beat up, somewhere along the line it was thrown out. When I had children, there was a copy in the house, but with all the other books and years gone by, be darned if I can find it now. My grandson was born a year ago, and his parents have embraced this lovely, poetic text as part of his bed time ritual. I have seen them lovingly recite those nine sentences to a child they love so much. It fills my heart. A few months ago, I bought a new copy of the book for my house. I look through it every once in a while and marvel at it's simplicity and depth. And now they've made a feature film based on this classic book. I hope the film does it proud. The fact that Sendak approves is enough for me. Let the wild rumpus start!

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