I was sad to hear that Maurice Sendak died on Tuesday. He wrote “Where the Wild Things Are,” and also wrote or illustrated several dozen more books — all just as original, and just as exciting. So it’s surprising that there aren’t any Kindle ebooks available by Maurice Sendak. But there is one way to get Maurice Sendak’s works onto your Kindle — by listening to an audiobook!
And amazingly, there’s also a full-length novel adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are that was written by Dave Eggers!
The audiobook is narrated by Peter Schickele, who is better known as the classical music humorist, P.D.Q. Bach. Schickele also composed a lively musical score for the story, which plays in the background as he reads the book’s short dialogue. (Sendak’s story famously has only 10 sentences in it — just 338 words — but with the additional music, the audiobook version is six minutes long.) “Schickele narrates with infectious enthusiasm,” wrote one reviewer on Amazon, “bringing life to the words, sounding as if he’s telling his favorite story…”
It’s also available as a DVD with animated versions of Sendak’s original pictures — along with adaptations of more Sendak stories. The DVD includes versions of the four short poems in “The Nutshell Library” — Pierre, One Was Johnny, Alligators All Around, and Chicken Soup With Rice — sung and set to music by Carol King.) Just point your web browser to tinyurl.com/SendakCartoons. And that collection concludes with Schikele’s version of Sendak’s “In the Night Kitchen.”
Audible.com is also selling an audiobook which contains a 25-minute interview with Sendak on the PBS radio show, Fresh Air. (Sendak was one of two guests on the show, which also includes another 25-minute interview with actress Patricia Clarkson.) It was recorded in 2003, when 75-year-old Sendak had just released a new book called Brundibar that was based on a dramatic Czechoslovakian opera. The audiobook offers a fun to hear Maurice Sendak’s voice coming out of your Kindle!
Finally, “Where the Wild Things Are” was adapted into a live-action movie in 2009, with a screenplay that was co-written by the award-winning novelist Dave Eggers (who was once also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize). I’ve been a fan of Eggers since he wrote A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, and along with the movie’s screenplay, he also wrote a full-length novel version of Sendak’s story. The San Francisco Chronicle called it a “funny and touching novelization of Maurice Sendakâ€™s picture book,” saying that Eggers was “brilliant at portraying the exuberance and chaos of a young boyâ€™s mind and heart.” And it’s available as a Kindle ebook. (Just sail your web browser away to tinyurl.com/SendakNovel )
I’m a big fan of Sendak. One year before he wrote Where the Wild Things Are, Sendak even drew the illustrations for a dark little children’s story by Robert Graves (the 67-year-old author of I, Claudius). People are remembering their favorite Sendak stories today, all around the web.
And it’s nice to know there’s also ways to remember Sendak with your Kindle!