Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Inside All of Us is a Wild Thing

Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are--aka The Tornello family's Favorite Book Ever--is coming to the Big Screen, courtesy of the wonderful Spike Jonze.

I'm thrilled to bits; after all, there are at least three copies of the book lying around my house, and I know we had all the monster puppets at one point (though Heaven help me try to find them right now). And each of us has one variation of the t-shirt or another, even Mama.

Wild Things Fever really took hold when Son One turned six, and we threw him a huge Where the Wild Things Are birthday party. On the morning of his big day, Son One walked into the back garden to find a real, full-sized and red-painted wooden sailboat that Robert and our friend Jeff built, complete with a bamboo mast and a yellow canvas sail sewed by Yours Truly. We also set up a washing-line-and-flowered-sheet tent (just like the one Max plays in) over one of the lower oak branches, and designed a cake that looked like a limb from the scary forest and covered it with plastic creepy-crawlies. I had painstakingly copied the book title's font when making the invitations. And, of course, stuffed versions of the Wild Things were stationed around the house.

Everyone had a ball and no-one was sent to his room--not even Robert, who, later that evening, somehow managed to completely burn off the handle of my favorite wok while BUI (Barbecuing Under the Influence).

And in a world where it seems that pink maribou-bedecked books and rhinestone-covered fantasy gear dominate the real estate of children's retail and juvenile publishing, I have to say, thank goodness for Maurice Sendak, as well as Roald Dahl--both are children's authors who wrote brilliantly, sensitively, and unflinchingly about the dark (and funny!) sides of human nature.

Where the Wild Things Are will be in theatres just in time for my own birthday, this October. Hooray!

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