BY CAIRRIL MILLS
Area residents now have the opportunity to walk on the wild side. Monroe County Public Library is hosting the “Maurice Sendak Memorial Exhibition,” a collection of 50 illustrations from Sendak’s books, films, and television shows. While many of the drawings are from Sendak’s much-loved children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, others are from In the Night Kitchen, Really Rosie, and the Little Bear series.
The exhibit has been traveling in North America since 2013 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Where the Wild Things Are. Originally intended to tour for only one year, the exhibition is now booked through 2019. It was first shown in museums, but according to Library Director Marilyn Wood, the exhibit’s curator realized “museums keep people out; libraries welcome people in.”
The library has planned a wide range of related programming and activities for all ages, including crafts for kids; a photo station that allows guests to take a selfie in front of a green screen and, within minutes, be emailed back their photo in a scene from Where the Wild Things Are; and a Wild Things of Sendak musical performance at both the main and Ellettsville, Indiana, branches on February 20.
Lisa Champelli, children’s strategist for the library, found some surprises when she looked through the exhibit. “When Sendak first started to work on Where the Wild Things Are, the story was actually going to be about horses and called Where the Wild Horses Are, and he realized he couldn’t draw horses! So he created these monsters,” she says. “I think that speaks to his level of persistence and creativity and how children can think of what they know in the world around them and incorporate that into their own storytelling.”
The exhibition will be open to the public from February 12 through March 26. Visit mcpl.info/sendak or use the hashtag #GoWildMCPL to find exhibit times and activities.