Good from Bad……

Following on from the recent anniversary of Anne Frank’s death on 12th March 1945, and some reading we have done of the events of the holocaust, we found out another interesting fact about that time in history.

One little boy, born in 1928 and residing in Brooklyn, New York, was one of thousands hugely affected by the atrocities of the holocaust.  Witnessing the deaths of members of his family, an event he reports as deeply saddening, was none other than Mr Maurice Sendak – the author of ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ ; originally entitled ‘Where the Wild Horses Are’, but Sendak had to accept that given he could not draw horses and wished to illustrate his own book, the illustrations soon grew into the idea of the ‘Wild Things’.)

In an interview with Bill Moyers, Sendak revealed a rare insight into his psyche and explained ‘some of the early childhood memories and surprisingly dark influences behind his work were shaped by immigrant parents and the tragedy of the holocaust.’ However, his memories of his family also injected humorous ideas into the creation of his wild things, with members of the family apparently coming for lunch and telling him, ‘he looked so good, they could eat him.’

When the book was first published, teachers and librarians could not understand the attraction of the story and thought it inappropriate for children to read but, over time, given its huge popularity, they had no choice but to relax their views.  Indeed, Francis Spufford, an English author, has stated that it was…. “one of the very few picture books to make an entirely deliberate and beautiful use of the psychoanalytic story of anger….’

Without Sedak’s horrific experiences we may not have had the adventures of Max which has brought excitement, and an enjoyment of reading, to so many children’s lives.