Wednesday, May 9, 2012

"Let the wild rumpus begin!"

Unreleased study for The Magic Flute.
Maurice Sendak was a person of unique sensibilities, yet he touched millions with his art. This slideshow does a particularly good job of limning his many facets. I was particularly taken with their description of his "Nutshell Library"—I've got to get a hold of that! My sister teaches elementary school, so she has an undying relationship with Wild Things, even to the extent of adorning her house with giant cutouts of the characters. I'm more of any opera person, so I remember him for his wonderful set designs for Mozart's The Magic Flute. Have you seen the film of Where the Wild Things Are? Which of his books are your favorites? I'd love to hear about your responses to his work.

21 comments:

  1. I have great memories of my mom reading "Where the Wild Things Are" to me and my sisters as kids. Also noteworthy are "In the Night Kitchen" and "Outside Over There", published later. What made Sendak great for me (not realized until more recent years) was his ability to relate so well to children without treating them like babies. The fact is, kids have wild imaginations and sometimes those fantasy worlds don't always have "pretty" things in them. He was also known to express himself without hesitation. Here are some interesting quotes: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/08/maurice-sendak-quotes_n_1501095.html
    He will surely be remembered as a pioneer for children's literature and illustration.

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  2. Instantly fell in love with that The Magic Flute opera poster!! <3<3<3 The excellent choice of colors and the level of realism in the cartoon lend so much life to this print. Sooooo need this for my wall!

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    1. It's a pretty high resolution ... you should download it!

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  3. I also have fuzzy warm cuddly memories of WTWTA, and of one page in particular. I can always bring it to mind. If I want.

    I will have to lodge a complaint against the movie. Maybe it was my mood, but I thought it was unwatchable. I wanted to throttle that kid within three minutes. Karen O can do no wrong by me so I have nothing bad to say about the soundtrack.

    The set for the Magic Flute looks amazing! I am not an opera person, besides a strange Rigoletto phase I went through a few years ago. But the Magic Flute is in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? So maybe I should grab a copy...Munch is also in DADOES and maybe Sendak was influenced by the scream and everything has come full circle...

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    1. The MF is a folk opera and very accessible. I was watching Amadeus the other day and they had snippets of it in there. Maybe rent a DVD? We are going to have several CDs of it available soon--historic performances. I recommend the one w/ Elizabeth Schwartzkopf.
      I had heard some mumblings about the film of Wild Things so didn't even watch it when it was on HBO. Why mess w/ perfection?

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    2. Forgot to ask you, what page are you referring to?

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    3. Couldn't agree with you more about the movie. That kid was OBNOXIOUS (love the soundtrack.) But of course the book is and always will be amazing.

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  4. I don't think anything can match the wonder of reading "Where the Wild Things Are" for the first time. Truly amazing experience. Also, couldn't agree more, Hambone. The movie was dreadful!!

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  5. I would have to agree with everyone else in saying "Where the Wild Things Are" was one of my favorites growing up. I came across this link last night shortly after I found out that Maurice Sendak passed away and it really made me laugh...kind of goes along with what Eva said about kids having wild imaginations and thinking crazy things are totally normal.

    http://www.funnyordie.com/lists/3bbdea4884/things-maurice-sendak-taught-us

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  6. Great post, Maurice Sendak stories will live on long after he's gone.

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  7. I will always remember reading Where the Wild Things Are in kindergarten. I also recall that we got to paint our own depictions from the book too. I loved that story and when I think of kindergarten I also think of Maurice Sendak.

    On a side note I was disappointed in the recent film.

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    1. Too bad you don't still have them ... we could feature your juvenilia on the Daily Glean! :)

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  8. I used to work at the Baltimore Reads Book Bank, which collects childrens books for city families and schools, and it always made me so happy to see teachers and parents get so excited when a Sendak book passed through (they especially loved WTWTA). They couldn't wait to introduce their kids and students to the world of Sendak. I agree with Eva - he wrote great childrens stories without treating the readers like babies. And his illustrations were just perfect! He will be missed.

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  9. I saw this book in the other day and brought it, immediately. Like everyone has mentioned, I loved reading it as a child and even still now that I'm older. For me , it falls into the same realm as some of my other favorites: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, & Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

    I've heard the latter is also slated to fall into the realm of movie renditions. Hopefully it'll fair better than the other two of maintaining the mesmerizing qualities experienced during reading.

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    1. I also love the books you mention. Did you know Meatballs is called Cloudy w/ chance of Felafel in the Middle East?
      What other children's books do you keep around you?

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  10. I just need to put my two cents in about the movie.

    The movie is NOT THE BOOK. It is its own creation, and it has its own magical moments.

    ...so much hating on the movie going on in here, had to put in a differing opinion. Movie is an easy 7.5 out of 10 for me.

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    1. Point taken! I will now give it a chance.

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  11. I remember reading Where The Wild Things are as a child and I truly fell in love. I can remember everything about the story up to the illustrations. It definitely is a long lasting memory that will be in the hearts of children and adult alike for years to come.

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    1. Perhaps it works so well because it is magical and real at the same time, like the Wizard of Oz. Thanks so much for sharing your response.

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  12. I loved WTWTA as a child, but discovered Chicken Soup with Rice when my kids were in preschool. It was a great book for learning the months & seasons, a catchy poem, and the pictures were so sweet. The way you described his work as "magical and real at the same time" is so true - and it is what I love most about children's books. Even Harry Potter has that quality!

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