Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (Book & Feature Film)
April 16, 2011
I think it’s pretty safe to assume that anyone that has even the slightest interest in children’s literature has read or, at the very least, heard of Maurice Sendak’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are. This book features Max, a spunky little boy who is sent to bed without supper one night. While sitting in his room, the walls began to change and his entire room is transformed into the Land of the Wild Things. The Wild Things are scary, but Max is the scariest of them all. He is able to stare them down, and they make him the King of the Wild Things. This delightful story is a wonderful addition to any collection of books, whether it be in a library, classroom, or a child’s collection at home. The illustrations are amazing, which is why Sendak won a Caldecott Medal for this particular book.
The Feature Film:
Spike Jonze’s twist on Sendak’s classic is entertaining, but I prefer the book over the movie – hands down! There were several differences between the feature film and the original children’s classic. First of all, there is much more of a background story about Max. In the movie, Max’s parents are divorced. He lives with his single mother and his older sister. His sister is an older adolescent and she has somewhat “outgrown” Max and doesn’t give him very much attention anymore. Max and his mother have an argument one night at dinner, but instead of Max being sent to his room and his room transforming into a jungle-type atmosphere, Max escapes and lands on an island, which is where he meets the Wild Things. Max may have been the “scariest of them all” in the book, but the Wild Things are definitely scarier in the movie. The dirt-clod fight shows the true beastliness of these creatures (who each have names in the movie, unlike the book). Max is crowned King of the Wild Things just like in the book, but he soon discovers that being a ruler isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Honestly, I am not a very big fan of this movie, but I am a HUGE fan of the book. So much had to be added to the simplicity of the classic children’s tale in order for it to become a 90 minute feature film. I prefer the book that I grew up with…by that’s just my opinion, of course.