Let the wild rumpus start.
Sunday would have been children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak’s 90th birthday. Unfortunately, the celebrated author died in 2012 at the age of 83, a year shy of the 50th anniversary of his Caldecott Award-winning book “Where the Wild Things Are.”
At only 338 words, it has sold millions of copies, received countless awards and been translated into 19 languages.
“Where the Wild Things Are” tells the story of Max, a little boy dressed in a wolf costume who, after making a mess in the house, is sent to his room without his supper. His bedroom turns into a jungle full of monsters called “wild things” and he becomes the king of all the wild things. Eventually, the smell of good things to eat from far away causes him to give up being king and he returns to his room, where he finds his supper waiting for him, still hot.
Your local Manatee County Library has plenty of copies of this beloved picture book, including audio, Playaway and e-book formats.
For a new take, check out the 2009 film by the same name, inspired by Sendak’s story, and directed by Spike Jonze. It combines live action and CGI, and features the voices of James Gandolfini, Forest Whitaker, Catherine O’Hara, and more.
Director Spike Jonze, alongside New York Times best-selling author Dave Eggers, authored the screenplay, expanding on the original 10-sentence story. Your local library also has the novel adapted from the screenplay, authored by Dave Eggers.
Be sure to check out Sendak’s other picture books, including “Bumble-Ardy,” a quirky story about a pig who never celebrated birthdays, until his aunt adopts him at age 9, and he decides to throw himself a spectacular party.
“In the Night Kitchen” tells the story of a little boy's dream-fantasy in which he helps three fat bakers get milk for their cake batter.
Or, check out the last book Sendak completed before his death, “My Brother’s Book” (2012), an homage to his late brother whom he credited for his passion for writing and drawing.
Interested in learning more about Maurice Sendak? Your local Manatee County Public Library System has several books for both children and adults.
Kids will love the fun facts in “Who Was Maurice Sendak?” (2013) by Janet B. Pascal, of the popular “Who Was” series, like how the author was born on the same day that Mickey Mouse first made his cartoon debut in 1928.
Adults will enjoy “Making Mischief: A Maurice Sendak Appreciation” (2009) by Gregory Maguire, the New York Times best-selling author. Maguire explores the common themes in Sendak’s books, including monsters and mayhem, and further reiterates Sendak’s unique ability to convey what it feels like to be a child.
Find out more at mymanatee.org/library.
Kaitlin Crockett is a youth librarian at the Palmetto Library. Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday in the Bradenton Herald.