Friday, October 23, 2009

Sendak: Wimp Kids Can Wet Selves

Questioned about the potentially frightening content of Where the Wild Things Are (now also a major motion picture), author Maurice Sendak said that worried parents could go to hell, and scared kids could go home or wet themselves. Also, he said, Mickey Mouse has been diluted from an enjoyable character into a loathsome marketing puppet.

Marketing droids at his publisher, he said, tried to get him to rewrite the last page of his story so that Max' meal would be found "warm" instead of "still hot" -- the wusses.

Thankfully, saner heads prevailed.

(Note: the German title of this book -- remember, the "w" is pronounced like a "v" in English -- sounds so delicious that I initially thought Sendak might have written it in that language, but this isn't the case, the German is a translation of an English original. But if you read German, the sounds of the words describing the Wild Things and their horrible teeth and claws roll so beautifully, so fiercely from the tongue that it's a delight you shouldn't fail to enjoy.)

UPDATE: Sendak specifically instructed the film's director not to let the movie feel "safe" but to make it as alarming as his book was when released -- he reported that librarians and others pleaded that adults keep it from their children.

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