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Where the Wild Things Are Not

I'm winding down this year's stint as a volunteer reader for a second-grade public school class. Earlier this week I took in Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak's classic picture book. 

Usually this group is bouncing with enthusiasm but not this time around. It was hot in the classroom (the school has no a.c.), the kids were finishing their breakfast, and energy was flagging. Very few except the reliably talkative Charlotte* wanted to make a related comment when I closed the book, although Alex* took the opportunity to announce that it was his birthday.

Finally Viviana*, a girl in pink glasses and pigtails, raised her hand. She has never spoken during read-aloud. I was happy that she was going to participate.

"Yes?" I said.

"That is NOT like the movie," she said.

"No, it isn't, is it?" I said, sounding hopeful. (A guess on my part since I never actually saw the film.)

Her eyes narrowed.

"It is not AT ALL like the movie," she said, folding her arms across her chest and staring me down.

She did not care to elaborate. Neither did anyone else.

Our discussion came to a close.

I totally bombed. I have to laugh, though, remembering it. 


*not their real names


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Oh, WOW. That's awful but funny -- we are a generation who has ONE memory of that story, whilst they will have a completely different one.

I like ours better.

Tanita, if I've learned one thing this year, it's that you never know what's going to fly. The driest nonfiction books about animals have been huge hits.

No wonder so many Broadway shows now started as movies. Used to be the other way around!

Oh dear. I never saw the movie either, but now I'm even more convinced I don't want to!

Janet, preschool teachers have told me that the kiddos will insist on sticking to the script when re-enacting favorite movies like Cinderella. They've seen the Disney videos so many times that it's hard for them to add in anything new or make changes. Interesting.

The movie was, indeed, a disappointment for me -- looked great, but went on and on about nothing. The book, however, is great in my mind!

Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt! The last weeks of school can be ugly, sometimes. Your telling is hilarious!

Michelle, that was my general impression about the movie, even though I haven't seen it! Genevieve, thanks! I loved that class. I took a book of knock-knock jokes for the last read-aloud. Things went much better! I received the dearest thank-you notes from everyone on the last day I was there. I was very touched.

That's a bummer! It's a shame that modern movies can take away from the appreciation and enjoyment of such a classic like "Where the Wild Things Are". Those of us (my own children included) who have grown to love the book are disappointed with the movie, but it does seem that those children such as Viviana* who have seen the movie before the book end up being disappointed with the book.

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