Thursday, May 14, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

Since it is officially Children's Book Week, and I was just talking about favorite children's books yesterday, it seemed a good time to mention the forthcoming movie based on the children's classic Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. The movie -- featuring Catherine Keener and Mark Ruffalo and directed by Spike Jonz, with the screenplay by Jonz and Dave Eggers (What is the What, Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, etc) -- opens October 16th. You can see a trailer for the movie at the Warner Brothers site for the film.

Sendak was born in 1928 in Brooklyn to Polish-Jewish immigrant parents. He was frail and sickly as a child, and embraced the world of books. After seeing Walt Disney's "Fantasia" at the age of twelve, he began to draw. After graduating from high school he worked for four years as a window dresser at F.A.O. Schwartz, then left to become a full-time freelance children's book illustrator, illustrating nearly 50 children's books before publishing his own book in 1963, Where the Wild Things Are, which won the Caldecott Medal. In 1970 he wrote In the Night Kitchen, another children's classic. He has also designed opera sets and created television programs. In 1996 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. Sendak has been described as a delightful curmudgeon with a wicked sense of humor and talent for storytelling. I'm typically not so keen on movies based on children's books, but I think this one has promise. And I'm a BIG FAN of the book, so fingers are crossed!

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