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Where the Wild Things Are

October 18th, 2009 · No Comments · Books, Children, family, Musings

Many years ago when I was the mother of a two-year-old child whose temper tantrums alongside moments of brilliant cognitive insights just about did me in, a fellow mom whose children were in their teens said to me:  “Remember this day, a day when you’re sure you could eat them alive.  But they get older, and although you wish the hell you had, you’re really glad you didn’t.”

The movie, Where the Wild Things Are, like Sendak’s book, does enormous justice to the wild and what feels uncontrollable at times emotional world of the young child.  A world we work hard to regulate into oblivion.  A world that very few adults really understand.   Just the other day one of my per-service teachers actually said to me that there should be a law against rough and tumble play between children.  (Thank goodness it hasn’t gotten that bad yet!).

I went surfing about looking for others reviews and found an incredible mix of reactions:  “jackass prank,” “lovingly crafted”, “teaches moral values” (what!?), “slow-moving poem to childhood confusion” (Max is not confused and neither is his mother — life is hard and life has challenging emotions that are hard to figure out); “potentially ferocious” (yes).

One of my favorite scenes is when Max actually does get eaten — I won’t say how or why, but know that strong emotions sometimes call for getting eaten by them.

Go see this movie.  Enjoy a poem, sometimes a slow one, sometimes a truly ferocious one; let yourself remember that sometimes life is so full of emotions that all you want to do is go somewhere and howl and throw things and rip life apart, and then crash into a pile on the bed with your mama.

However, I do think the visual presentation of these hard emotions is not appropriate to children about 5 and under.  Read the book, take a friend of any age to the movie, and then talk – talk about when you remember the day you  thought you would explode because you were so full of feelings!

Bravo, Spike Jones and company.

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