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Maurice Sendak

Off to Meet the Wild Things

Your ever-lovin’ ed-otter was taking a work-related trip to Nashville, TN for a few days. Now it’s time to get caught up…

The literary world (heck, the world in general) was saddened recently by the death of Maurice Sendak on May 8th at the age of 83. By far he was best known as the writer and illustrator of Where the Wild Things Are, which revolutionized what a “children’s book” could be — and gave us all some cool monsters to befriend — when it was first published in 1963. But that is far from Mr. Sendak’s only legacy to Furry Fandom. Prior to Wild Things he was the illustrator of the Little Bear books by Else Holmelund Minarik. (Nelvana used his Little Bear designs when they created the animated Little Bear TV series and feature film in the late 1990’s.) In the 1980’s Mr. Sendak was often hired to be a production, costume, and art designer for East Coast opera productions, including the 1981 production of The Cunning Little Vixen by Leos Janacek — possibly the most anthropomorphic opera ever, and certainly the most anthropomorphic thing on stage before Cats came along. Most recently, Maurice Sendak had his works translated for the big and little screen: Where the Wild Things Are was adapted into a feature film by Spike Jonze in 2009, and that same year Sendak’s short story Higglety Pigglety Pop was adapted into a short film (starring the voice of Meryl Streep) usingĀ  a combination of live-action and puppetry. If you want to find out more about Mr. Sendak’s wide body of work, check out his Wikipedia page. But be warned: There are Wild Things there.

image c. 2009 Warner Brothers Pictures

For Sesame Street fans

Following in the foam rubber footsteps of Sesame Street Unpaved by David Borgenicht comes Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street by Michael Davis (published by Viking). This massive (384 pages!) hardcover book was created by former TV Guide writer Davis after an extensive interview with Joan Ganz Cooney, who oversaw production on this world-famous educational TV series for more than twenty years. Some of the stories from the development of the series in 1968 are priceless: Maurice Sendak bored at a seminar on children’s TV, entertaining himself by drawing X-rated cartoons; and Jim Henson, whos long hair, beard, and sandals had producers worried that he might be a Weatherman terrorist. Stories like that abound.

Where the Wild Things Are

A brand new, more-detailed trailer for the long-awaited film adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are is up on the Internet in several locations. The film version of Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s book is being directed by Spike Jonze — who, it turns out, has been filming this since 2005. The release date has been pushed back several times, and now sits at October of this year. Of course, the big question on every furry fan’s mind is: How are the monsters? Interestingly, unlike the typical Hollywood thing these days, the studio (Warner Brothers) is not being coy about their design — they’re all there in plain sight in the trailer, cavorting in all their glory. The creatures were created by the Jim Henson Company, and feature CGI morphing faces.

Check out the trailer at the following locations:–N9klJXbjQ&feature=channel_page