Dispatches | October 19, 2009

I’ve noticed around several literary blogs, and information sources in general, that everyone is talking about  the movie, Where the Wild Things Are. I’ve gotten pretty sick of everyone either talking about how much they liked it, or how much they didn’t, and how much different it is from the children’s book.

So instead of saying anything more about it, I’m going to take a stroll down nostalgia alley (it’s not a lane) and write about three of the best children books, that AREN’T Where the Wild Things Are.

3) The Lorax. Forget One Fish Two Fish, lets talk about the genius that is Dr. Seuss. Its beyond the obvious underlying theme; The Doc’s great for the complete and crazy world that the story is in, and the odd Lorax character (whom wikipedia describes as ‘resembling an Emperor Tamarin‘), that’s the real gold. The wood chopping machines, the products the trees produce, etc. Its that crazy imaginative land that I loved as a kid. I think a lot of people  hail Dr. Seuss for the creations like “Oh the Places You Will Go” which, in its own right, is okay, but anyone could have written that story. For me, its all about the setting.

2) Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I don’t like the movie. It ruins the book, entirely. I don’t like its style, I don’t like the trailers. Cloudy wasn’t about some creation that tries makes life better, that’s malarkey.  Its all about the things in life that come down on you. The good, the bad. Its about getting too much and living through it, starting over. OR at least that’s what it was for me. And also the illustrations in the book were great. They teased me with the idea of delicious foods, then made my stomach sick toward the end. Boo to Sony.

1) Where the Sidewalk Ends. Do I need to justify this? Shel Silverstein just got it. He made poems for kids and they liked them. Who does that? Who can pull that off? I still read this book. The best part? They won’t make a movie out of this one! (please don’t make me eat my words hollywood)

Consolation award goes to Calvin and Hobbes. Technically they are a cartoon, so I didn’t really consider Bill Watterson’s writing in the category. But that being said, the dialogue of Calvin and Hobbes was terrific. I feel like Watterson really understood that kids understand a lot more than we give them credit for.