I was saddened today to learn that the gifted and delightfully grumpy Maurice Sendak has died at the age of 83. I remember first reading Where the Wild Things Are in a children’s literature class in college. I thought it was a wonderful book and it was one that I gave as a gift to nieces, nephews and children of friends for many years. Little did I know that one day I would have a boy just like the mischievous Max, who would often sail over a year, in and out of weeks and through a day to where the wild things lived. My son is now grown, graduating this week from college and ready to begin his own adventures in adult living, hopefully without too much wild rumpusing. When I heard that Sendak had died, I went down to my son’s bedroom, virtually abandoned the last few years he has been away at school to see if a copy of Sendak’s book was on the shelf. It was. It was fun to read it and smile.
I didn’t see this when it originally aired last winter, but below here are links to two videos (Part 1) (Part 2) of Sendak being interviewed by Stephen Colbert. I think that Colbert had met his match!
Here is a dramatic reading of the text, with some of the illustrations animated.
And, although it seems all kinds of wrong, here is Christopher Walken reading the work, with his added commentary and interpretation. Walken makes is sort of perfect, I think, in some sort of alternative universe, where wild things are, of course.