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Commentary: Author of ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ at root of childhood memories

Courtesy of MCT

With Maurice Sendak’s passing, we have truly lost a man responsible for instilling the meaning of friendship in many children around the world.

The children’s book artist, who most famously wrote and illustrated “Where the Wild Things Are,” died early Tuesday at age 83 due to complications from a stroke.

In 2009, many of my friends and peers became a child once again. Before you ask, no, I’m not in cahoots with a bunch of Benjamin Buttons.

The beloved children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” came to a screen near me, and I soaked up the story like a sponge.

I did not, however, share in the reminiscing of the fond childhood memories with my friends or peers, mostly because I was not familiar with the story. I had never read “Where the Wild Things Are.” Before I saw the movie, anyway.

I didn’t have any level of expectations when I got to the theater because I only knew the story involved a boy gallivanting around a forest with a bunch of hairy beasts. I had seen the book cover.

Though I wasn’t familiar with the plot, I did know I was about to see something that meant a lot to those who had the opportunity to experience the book as a child.

Taking one look around the theater, there was not one age group that dominated the rest. There was a fair mix of parents out with their young children and young adults mixed in with college students.

It’s probably safe to say everyone in the theater was excited to see this movie. Rightly so, because the adaptation was amazing. The beasts came to life, having been costumed by The Jim Henson Company, the same company responsible for “The Muppets.”

I was so engrossed by every element of this story that I started bawling once Max left his newfound friends and sailed across the ocean back to reality.

Even though I was only 18, and barely considered an adult at the time, I could still feel my inner-child connecting with the story, remembering how I always cried whenever I left my best friend’s house to go back to mine, one cornfield away.

Obviously, none of this would be possible if Maurice Sendak had never written the book, and I (sadly) would have never read the book as an adult if it weren’t for the movie.

Though this story was not a huge part of my life, it’s better late than never to be affected by its impact.

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