Friday, October 16, 2009

Where Are the Wild Things.... Or, Wait... Where the Wild Things Are... There

If you've spent a little time with my posts, you know that I usually post about young adult or at least adolescent aged literature, usually things stay above the 4th or 5th grade level. Well, I'd like to start branching out a little bit into the world of children's lit as well. Now by children's literature, I'm meaning early children's literature, because I do review and discuss elementary literacy quite often, because I am currently a 4th grade teacher and have taught 5th in the past.

Today I took my own children to see Where the Wild Things Are, the Spike Jonze adaptation of the Maurice Sendak classic picture book. I went into this movie not really knowing what to expect other than spectacular cinematography. My expectations, or lack thereof, were blown to pieces (or not, depending upon the philosophy of having no expectations) by a movie that was engrossing to young children yet appropriate for adults at the same time.

First of all, it was nothing like the book, which is undoubtedly a classic in pre-K and kindergarten classrooms across the world. The book is great whether told with your own voice, or using the classic narration that has influenced countless tellings of this book. The movie puts a human face on Max, one that many parents and teachers alike can relate to, that of the outcasted Oppositionally Defiant child. His tantrums lead him to the world of wild things, where the story really comes to life. Spike Jonze nailed this movie, it was a true masterpiece.

I'm writing about this because the book has become such a force in early literacy, and then along comes this movie that is, in my mind, Oscar worthy, it is a movie that adults will laugh and cry along with their enchanted children, seeing one of their favorite books come to life on the screen. Go out there and see this movie, and then read the book again.