Where the Wild Things Are
|Where the Wild Things Are|
Cover of Where the Wild Things Are
|Cover artist||Maurice Sendak|
|Genre(s)||Children's picture book|
|Publisher||Harper & Row|
|Media type||Children's literature|
|LC Classification||MLCM 2006/43328 (P)|
Where the Wild Things Are is a 1963 children's picture book by American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, originally published by Harper & Row. The book has been adapted into other media several times, including an animated short in 1974 (with an updated version in 1988); a 1980 opera; and a live-action 2009 feature-film adaptation, directed by Spike Jonze. The book had sold over 19 million copies worldwide as of 2009, with 10 million of those being in the United States.
A young boy named Max, after dressing in his wolf costume, wreaks havoc through his household and is disciplined by being sent to his bedroom. As he feels agitation with his mother, Max's bedroom undergoes a mysterious transformation into a jungle environment, and he winds up sailing to an island inhabited by malicious beasts known as the "Wild Things." After successfully intimidating the creatures, Max is hailed as the king of the Wild Things and enjoys a playful romp with his subjects; however, he decides to return home, to the Wild Things' dismay. After arriving in his bedroom, Max discovers a hot supper waiting for him.
Development history 
Beginning as an illustrator, Sendak decided to start both writing and illustrating his own books. In 1956, he published his first book without outside help, Kenny's Window (1956). Soon after, he began work on another solo effort. The story was supposed to be that of a child who, after a tantrum, is punished in his room and decides to escape to the place that gives the book its title, the "land of wild horses". Shortly before starting the illustrations, Sendak realized he did not know how to draw horses and, at the suggestion of his editor, changed the wild horses to the more ambiguous "Wild Things", a term inspired by the Yiddish expression "Vilde chaya", used to indicate boisterous children. He replaced the horses with caricatures of his aunts and uncles, whom he had spent much time creating in his youth as an escape from their chaotic weekly visits to his family's Brooklyn home. When working on the opera adaptation of the book with Oliver Knussen, Sendak gave the monsters the names of his relatives: Tzippy, Moishe, Aaron, Emile and Bernard.
Literary significance 
According to Sendak, at first the book was banned in libraries and received negative reviews. It took about two years for librarians and teachers to realize that children were flocking to the book, checking it out over and over again, and for critics to relax their views. Since then, it has received high critical acclaim. Francis Spufford suggests that the book is "one of the very few picture books to make an entirely deliberate and beautiful use of the psychoanalytic story of anger". Mary Pols of Time magazine wrote that "[w]hat makes Sendak's book so compelling is its grounding effect: Max has a tantrum and in a flight of fancy visits his wild side, but he is pulled back by a belief in parental love to a supper 'still hot,' balancing the seesaw of fear and comfort." New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis noted that "there are different ways to read the wild things, through a Freudian or colonialist prism, and probably as many ways to ruin this delicate story of a solitary child liberated by his imagination." In Selma G. Lanes's book The Art of Maurice Sendak, Sendak discusses Where the Wild Things Are along with his other books In the Night Kitchen and Outside Over There as a sort of trilogy centered on children's growth, survival, change and fury. He indicated that the three books are "all variations on the same theme: how children master various feelings – danger, boredom, fear, frustration, jealousy – and manage to come to grips with the realities of their lives."
The book was awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1964. Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children." It was one of the "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time in a 2012 poll by School Library Journal.
Sendak and animator Gene Deitch began work on an animated short based on the book in 1969, at Krátký Film, Prague, for Weston Woods Studios. Production of the film lasted for five years; the project was finally completed sometime in 1974 and immediately became the premiere prize-winning and best-selling Weston Woods offering. The short was narrated by Allen Swift, and featured a musique concrète score composed by Deitch himself. An updated version of the film was later released in 1988, with new music and narration by Peter Schickele.
In the 1980s, Sendak worked with British composer Oliver Knussen on a children's opera based on the book. The opera received its first (incomplete) performance in Brussels in 1980; the first complete performance of the final version was given by the Glyndebourne Touring Opera in London in 1984. This was followed by its first U.S. performance in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1985 and the New York City premiere by New York City Opera in 1987. A concert performance was given at The Proms in the Royal Albert Hall in London in 2002. A concert production was produced by New York City Opera in spring 2011.
In 1999, Isadar released a solo piano musical composition titled Where The Wild Things Are which appeared on his album Active Imagination, inspired by the Sendak book. The composition was revisited and re-recorded in 2012 on Isadar's album, Reconstructed with Will Ackerman Grammy winner and founder of Windham Hill Records producing.
The live-action film version of the book is directed by Spike Jonze. It was released on October 16, 2009. The film stars Max Records as Max and features Catherine Keener as his mother, with Lauren Ambrose, Chris Cooper, Paul Dano, James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara, and Forest Whitaker providing the voices of the principal Wild Things. The soundtrack was written and produced by Karen O and Carter Burwell. The screenplay was adapted by Jonze and Dave Eggers. Sendak was one of the producers for the film. The screenplay was novelized by Eggers as The Wild Things, published in 2009.
See also 
- 1963 in literature
- List of children's books made into feature films
- List of children's classic books
- Turan, Kenneth (October 16, 2009). "'Where the Wild Things Are'". LA Times. Retrieved February 12, 2012.
- Warrick, Pamela (October 11, 1993) "Facing the Frightful Things". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 27, 2009.
- Shea, Christopher (October 16, 2009). "The Jewish lineage of "Where the Wild Things Are"". The Boston Globe (The New York Times Company). Retrieved January 28, 2012.
- "Wild Things: The Art of Maurice Sendak". tfaoi.com. April 15 – August 14, 2005. Retrieved August 28, 2009.
- Brockes, Emma (October 2, 2011). "Maurice Sendak: 'I Refuse To Lie to Children'". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved October 5, 2011. "monsters from Wild Things were based on his own relatives. They would visit his house in Brooklyn when he was growing up ("All crazy – crazy faces and wild eyes") and pinch his cheeks until they were red."
- Burns, p. 70.
- Sendek, Maurice (October 16, 2009) in a video from "Review: Where the Wild Things Are Is Woolly, But Not Wild Enough" by Hugh Hart. Wired. Retrieved December 30, 2009.
- Spufford, p. 60.
- Pols, Mary (October 14, 2009) "Where the Wild Things Are: Sendak with Sensitivity". Time. Retrieved October 18, 2009.
- Dargis, Manohla (October 16, 2009). "Some of His Best Friends Are Beasts". The New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2009.
- Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (June 1, 1981). "Books Of The Times". The New York Times. Retrieved October 12, 2009.
- Gottlieb, Richard M (2008). "Maurice Sendak's Trilogy: Disappointment, Fury, and Their Transformation through Art". Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 63: 186–217. PMID 19449794.
- American Library Association. "Caldecott Medal Winners, 1938 – Present". Retrieved May 27, 2009.
- National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- Bird, Elizabeth (July 6, 2012). "Top 100 Picture Books Poll Results". School Library Journal "A Fuse #8 Production" blog. Retrieved August 22, 2012.
- "Maurice Sendak Calls Newt Gingrich an 'Idiot' in 'Colbert Report' Interview". The Hollywood Reporter. January 25, 2012. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
- Johnston, Russell (March 12, 2009). "Nashville Scene – 'Bach in Black'". The Tennessean. p. 46.
- Wakin, Daniel J. (March 10, 2010). "For New York City Opera Season, Bernstein, Strauss and New Works". The New York Times.
- "Early CG Experiments by John Lasseter and Glen Keane".
- "Active Imagination (Solo Piano) - Isadar". AllMusic. 1998-12-28. Retrieved 2012-05-12.
- Sperling, Nicole (September 11, 2008). "'Where the Wild Things Are' Gets Long-Awaited Release Date". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved September 12, 2008.
- Burns, Tom (ed.) (March 2008). "Maurice Sendak". Children's Literature Review (Detroit: Gale Research Company) 131: 29–59+. ISBN 9780787696061. OCLC 792604122.
- Spufford, Francis (2002). The Child That Books Built: A Life of Reading (1st ed.). New York: Metropolitan Books. ISBN 978-0805072150. OCLC 50034806.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Where the Wild Things Are|
- Where the Wild Things Are (1973) at the Internet Movie Database
- Where the Wild Things Are (2009) at the Internet Movie Database
- NOW on PBS WATCH: Bill Moyers and Maurice Sendak discuss the inspiration behind "Where the Wild Things Are" and where mischievous Max might be today.
- Where The Wild Things Are – Early Disney CG Animation Test
The Snowy Day
|Caldecott Medal recipient
May I Bring a Friend?