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Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are...is in the original book.

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Plot summary from wikipedia:
The text consists of only ten sentences. It tells the story of Max, who one evening plays around his home, "making mischief" in a wolf costume. As punishment, his mother sends him to bed without supper. In his room, a mysterious, wild forest and sea grows out of his imagination, and Max sails to the land of the Wild Things. The Wild Things are fearsome-looking monsters, but Max conquers them "by staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once", and he is made "the King of all Wild Things", dancing with the monsters in a "wild rumpus". However, he soon finds himself lonely and homesick, and he returns home to his bedroom, where he finds his supper waiting for him, still hot.

This was one of my favourite books when I was a little girl. I could totally relate to the whole inner wild thing concept. Feeling overwhelmed with emotion, not knowing why or what to do with it, but needing some way to release the pent up energy of it. I delighted in the imagery of the wild rumpus and the roaring beasts who gnashed their terrible teeth, and sighed their terrible sighs. And it made perfect sense that young Max's interlude with the wild things was just a temporary one after which, with no explanation needed, life returns to normal.

Where the Wild Things Are NOT...is in the movie.

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Somehow I thought the movie slightly misses the mark. It tries too hard to find the meaning behind Max's temper tantrums, the root of his wild thing. The "Wild Things" are still beasts, but they are too personified. They are too full of melancholy and angst. They are not a place of imagination to escape to, but too obviously a broken family in need of fixing. I know the underlying message of the book is about Max sorting out his feelings but, for me, the movie felt too in-your-face about it. Sometimes bursts of emotion really are just a release of pent up energy...that was how I read the book as a child, and I just found that the analytical approach taken in the movie wasn't really for me. I really enjoyed the movie, don't get me wrong. It made a fun mother-daughter date with Sara! And the costumes and visuals were stunningly bang on, totally captured the feel of the book. It was only the slightly "off" direction of the plot that got in the way for me. So I'm going to ignore the movie's attempt to find meanings and stick to my childhood impressions of the storybook, that Max's tantrum was just one of those days...

Long live Max, the King of the Wild Things! :)

Comments (10)

Barb Cabot:

I read this book to a 2nd grade class I"ve been subbing this week. Then we drew our own monsters in a big jumbo lidded mason jar. Now the kids are going to name the monster, tell how they caught it, what it eats, what they are going to do with him etc. Fun activity. The kids loved the book. It's pretty timeless.

Anne:

Barb, I think the idea of being able to tame our wild things is comforting to kids. Not much is under our control at that age! The book portrays that in such a simple, magical way. Definitely timeless!! My girls love it too, especially Sara. :)

I love the book and have read it to my nephews so many times (they love it too). It's funny to learn that it only has ten sentences because it seems like so much happens!

I'm sorry to hear that the movie over-complicates it. I bet it was fun to see them in action though.

Anne:

Yes, Annie, it was fun! The film makers did a brilliant job on the visual aspect. And the actors were all great. It really was just the over complicating things part that didn't suit me. I'm still glad I went to see it!

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Anne, I had never heard of this book before. It sounds like something I probably would have enjoyed reading! It's too bad the movie wasn't as good. Thanks so much for writing about "Where the Wild Things are" . . . (I love that title)!

Have a great day today and a wonderful weekend!

Anne:

Kathy, in that case, I'm glad I introduced you to this great book! I highly recommend that you read it sometime when you're in a bookstore or library. Will take only a few minutes, Sendak captured the magic in just a few sentences! His illustrations are wonderful.

Hope you have a great day too :)

Such a classic! Too bad the movie wasn't as good as you hoped. I wondered how they were going to portray the characters in the movie. Thanks for the review :)

Anne:

girasoli, they did do a good job on the characters...if only they'd left them more wild, and didn't overdevelop their psyches. So yeah, mixed review for that reason!

I loved reading the book to my students. I was rather dubious about the movie - some bits of magical literature were meant to exist on a page for us to make our own images/meaning in our head.

Anne:

So true Jerry! Thinking this is one of those bits of magical literature. The movie reflected the visual images, but really didn't capture the magic, at least not for me.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 21, 2009 10:08 PM.

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