Saturday, March 28, 2009

Wild about Wild Things

I am so excited about this it makes me want to sneak out tonight and sail away to lands unknown:

Wow! Doesn't it look great? I think I am more excited about this story now than I was as a kid, to be honest. When I was little, I found Maurice Sendak's illustrations a little muddy-coloured and old-fashioned (I was a discerning kid); and indeed there are some who believe his work is too dark, disturbing and nightmarish for young children.

I was always intrigued by the darker fare on offer at my Primary School library. I think children are naturally attracted to the idea of mysterious adventures made more thrilling by an undercurrent of danger; worlds within worlds populated by fantastic - and sometimes terrifying - creatures. I think a lot of modern stuff for children has had all of the character wiped out of it in the name of commercial viability (or parental approval); so that we are left with a homogenous "Monsters Inc" style where even the "bad" monsters look like harmless, brightly coloured rubber toys.

I'm not saying that there's not a place for lighter, simpler and less scary stories (I loved Winnie-the-pooh after all), but the ones that really fired my imagination as a child were the messy, crazy, scary ones that took children away from the safety of their homes and parents and to parallel worlds - the Roald Dahl books, Alice in Wonderland (with the original freaky Victorian engravings), the Magic Faraway Tree, the Narnia chronicles.

I have a secret* dream to write and illustrate a children's book in my lifetime. God knows when or if that is going to happen. But watching this trailer makes me excited about the possibilities. Also, I adore the Arcade Fire song illuminating it. And it was filmed in my hometown! I can't wait to see it.

*no more!

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