I know that Spike Jonze’s screen adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s beloved picture book, ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ is getting fantastic reviews. I’ve seen the raves on the news and in newspapers, too, and listened to a Talk of the Nation special about monsters yesterday on NPR inspired by Sendak, called “Maurice Sendak’s Monster Makeover” which I thoroughly enjoyed. I also write children’s novels and am a devoted reader of the genre.
But I’m not going to see the movie. No matter how good the reviews. No matter how nostalgic it makes people. And no matter how many awards it wins.
My mother was a nursery school teacher–this means that she was a fantastic reader of picture books. Growing up I had my own personal maker of all things magical, as my mother read to me in voices and with gestures that would make any children’s librarian proud. Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” was one of my favorite books as a child, and one of her favorites to read to me. As I got older and I’d visit her classroom, I’d watch in the back as she read to her kids, who sat rapt, listening to her rendition of this story, complete with commentary and helpful interpretation when there weren’t words, just pictures.

We all reserve the right to preserve certain memories. And this one is sacred to me. I can’t even see the trailer without beginning to cry, but there’s also something of an aversion I feel to watching someone else’s interpretation of this beloved book. I’m sticking with the one I got from my Mom and those childhood reading session and will leave it at that.
I wonder though: am I alone in feeling this way?
For another Mom’s take on ‘Where the Wild Things Are,’ check out Beliefnet Movie Mom’s review.

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