While Maurice Sendak‘s more popular “Where the Wild Things Are” involves fanged monsters who are oversized and eyeball-y, it has a brave young hero who is relatable to a four-year-old and also features a happy ending. Unfamiliar British vocabulary, references to pill popping, colorless ink drawings of anthropomorphic animals with giant heads sipping tea, tangible sense of discomfort? Less relatable. An easily deceived, morose dog isn’t the way to go when choosing a protagonist for a kid’s book. I can still recall the suffocating feeling of terror I experienced while listening to my mom reading it.
AUNT JOHN SEZ: Thanks for sharing Amalia! Although I missed out on this SENDAK chestnut, I do remember being creeped out by his mid-70’s collaboration with songstress CAROLE KING called REALLY ROSIE. My elementary school music teacher thought it would be a great idea if she taught us the SENDAK/KING traumatizer THE BALLAD OF CHICKEN SOUP. We ended up performing it, along with a medley of other questionable songs, in the gymnasium at the end of the school year as a special treat for our parents. Imagine the looks on their faces when a stage filled with off-key grade schoolers began pantomiming this ditty: