Tuesday, October 6, 2009


With everyone (or what seems like everyone) buzzing about the upcoming release of Spike Jonze's film adaptation of Where the
Wild Things Are
(October 16: see the trailer once more here), it's fair to say that kids books are a little en vogue at the moment, and we say rightfully so. Because really (and it's forgotten all too often), who would we be without the characters, the plots, the people, the very pictures of our youths?

And of course, of course, we cannot say, and wouldn't want to even if we could. Those books are the best books, the bookiest of books, and live in that part of our souls where all the wild -- and best -- things are.

Oh, and if you needed any convincing about seeing the film adaptation, here's a really funny clip (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pnLPlf9nVDg) from a skateboard film by the same director (called Yeah Right). And PS, Owen Wilson is in it. See, everything does make sense in the world. Right? Right?

Anyways, for old time's sake, here are a few the books that defined my childhood (AND PLEASE, PLEASE GET BACK TO US WITH BOOKS FROM YOUR OWN, OR FOR THAT MATTER, YOUR CHILD'S!:

(Any) Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson -- Not that anything needs to be said about the best series of books ever, still: Calvin and Hobbes remains to be one of the smartest, warmest, cutest, funniest, most realistic books ever written under the banner of children's comic-ry. The pinnacle of 20th century literature just after Finnegan's Wake.

The Salamander Room by Anne Mazer -- I do not know why but there's something really, truly, perfect about this book in which a boy transforms his world for the sake of a salamander...

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel -- The sweetness at work in this story of two old and, at times, grumpy friends, is the stuff of true genius and still as good a story as it was when I first read it. Quiet, sober, and still funny as well, it makes me think about what it would be like if Mr. Rogers and Woody Allen were to be amphibians in future lives.



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