In the 1960s and in preparation of its 30th anniversary, the publisher of Tolkien’s The Hobbit reached out to Maurice Sendak to create illustrations to accompany and re-imagine this classic hero’s tale. Unfortunately this pairing was not to be. Tony DiTerlizzi probed what happened and the story is pretty interesting, as is the what could…
Maurice Sendak, 82, beloved children’s author and illustrator of the cherished childhood favorites Where the Wild Things Are, Higglety, Pigglety Pop! and Chicken Soup with Rice, isn’t feeling so great these days. “I’m old,” he says. “I’ve been rather sick, to tell you the truth.” But, he adds, “I can make believe I’m well.” Sadly he was too unwell to attend the unveiling of the fifty-year-old mural he painted for the children of a young Manhattan couple in back in 1961. The entire wall, 1,400 pounds in all, was removed and taken to the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, where it is part of the permanent collection.
I love this anecdote shared by Maurice Sendak when he was once asked by Applesauce Magazine to share some of his favorite comments from readers over the years. “Once a little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters — sometimes very…
In his feature films, Spike Jonze has successfully melded his singular sensibility with other equally distinctive voices (Charlie Kaufman in BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and ADAPTATION, Maurice Sendak and Dave Eggers in WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE). But for a taste of pure, unadulterated Jonze — to really appreciate the deadpan high concepts, the absurdist melancholy, the skewed sense of enchantment — turn to his music videos and short films.
Written and directed by Jonze (and financed by Absolut Vodka), the half-hour I’M HERE, the high point of a strong opening shorts program, follows in the venerable tradition of sci-fi stories about robots who discover the contradictions of the human heart. Sheldon (Andrew Garfield) is a sad-eyed android librarian in an unfriendly Los Angeles where the robots lead an underclass existence and seem fated for a lonely obsolescence. (He and his fragile fellow bots certainly look like last century’s models: boxy heads, Lego-like appendages, protruding wires.)
Max is a feisty little kid. First he gets upset because his older sister doesn’t want to play with him. Then he gets upset when her friends play too rough (i.e. caving in his snow fortress). His mom (Catherine Keener), though caring, has her own stuff going on (work, boyfriend) and she can’t be there every single time he builds a fort that’s really a rocket ship that will take them to the moon. As a kid, I remember being frustrated when I wanted to show my mom something, and she, busy working or conversing with another adult, would only walk very slowly towards the excitement I had waiting just around the corner, while I tugged mercilessly on her arm, trying to get her to break into a run. This is normal kid stuff, and I’m not sure its enough to summon the kind of tantrum Max throws, one severe enough to take him to a far away island inhabited only by big, scary monsters. It makes Max come off more like a spoiled brat than the hero-figure created by Maurice Sendak.