The Arty Semite

HarperCollins Nixes ‘Wild Things’ Sequel

By Forward Staff

Those hoping there would be a sequel to Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book “Where the Wild Things Are” are in for a disappointment.

A Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a poem called “Back to the Wild” has been suspended following a copyright complaint from HarperCollins, which published the original “Wild Things.” The U.K.-based crowdfunding campaign aimed to raise £25,000 to publish the new work.

According to the legal notice sent by HarperCollins, “The infringing material is a proposal to create a “sequel” to WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE… would clearly violate the Estate’s right to create derivative works.”

Although “Back to the Wild” is based on the original, it was written by poet Geoffrey O. Todd and illustrated by Rich Berner. It was intended to tell the story of Max returning to the land of the Wild Things 30 years later together with his daughter, Sophie.

Sendak, who died in 2012 at age 83, had rejected the possibility of writing a sequel during his lifetime. In a 2011 interview with the Tate Museum he said, “I’m not a whore. I don’t do those things.”

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Maurice Sendak Gets a Google Doodle

By Forward Staff

Children’s author Maurice Sendak, who died May 8, 2012, would have been 85 today. In his honor, Google has produced a complete animated sequence on its homepage, celebrating Sendak books such as “Where the Wild Things Are,” “In the Night Kitchen” and “Bumble-Ardy.” Head over to Google or watch the whole thing below.

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William Shatner Reads 'Where the Wild Things Are'

By Forward Staff

Are the Wild Things, from Maurice Sendak’s, “Where the Wild Things Are,” actually living somewhere in the Star Trek universe? Well, there’s no real evidence of any intersection between Sendak’s imaginary world and that of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. But worlds could still collide at the recent Denver Comic Con, where William Shatner, who played Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, read Sendak’s book to a group of young readers.

“But remember, here’s the whole idea,” Shatner told his audience. “Mysterious questions, the mystery of the world — nobody knows the answers to a lot of it. And so it’s all in your imagination.”

Well, in my imagination, maybe the Wild Things actually live somewhere in the Gamma Quadrant.

Watch William Shatner read ‘Where the Wild Things Are’:

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Brooklyn School Named After Maurice Sendak

By Forward Staff

An elementary school in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood is renaming itself after late children’s author Maurice Sendak.

Getty Images

PS 118 announced February 8 that it will now be called the Maurice Sendak Community School, after the author of “Where the Wild Things Are,” “In the Night Kitchen” and “Chicken Soup With Rice,” among other classics. “We are thrilled to honor a great Brooklyn native and in doing so, we hope to inspire our children to find their own creative expression,” the school stated on its website.

The Brooklyn school is now the second to be named after Sendak, according the Daily News. In 2005 a school in North Hollywood, Calif., was named the Maurice Sendak Elementary School.

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'Wild Things' Author Maurice Sendak Dies at 83

By Forward Staff

Maurice Sendak, author of beloved children’s books such as “Where the Wild Things Are” and “In the Night Kitchen,” died May 8 at age 83 of complications from a stroke.

Getty Images

Sendak, who was born in Brooklyn to Jewish immigrants from Poland, broke the conventions of children’s literature with his dark and psychologically acute early books. “Where the Wild Things Are” was published to acclaim and controversy in 1963, and received the Caldecott Medal in 1964. In 1966 Sendak published an illustrated version of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s children’s story “Zlateh the Goat,” which received the Newbery Medal.

Though Sendak produced few children’s books since “Outside Over There,” which was published in 1981, his latest work, titled “Bumble-Ardy,” came out in September 2011. According to The New York Times, a posthumous book titled “My Brother’s Book,” inspired by Sendak’s late brother Jack, is set to be published in February 2013.

In recent years Sendak enjoyed a renewed popularity that included a 2009 film version of “Where the Wild Things Are,” directed by Spike Jonze, and exhibits of his work at museums such as the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco and Philadelphia’s Rosenbach Museum and Library. He also curated an exhibit of Hanukkah lamps at The Jewish Museum in New York and in January made an appearance on Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

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Stephen Colbert vs. Maurice Sendak

By Nathan Burstein

“Where the Wild Things Are” writer Maurice Sendak turns out to be the cranky Jewish grandfather fans of “The Colbert Report” wish they had.

The 83-year-old author has been featured the past two nights on the Comedy Central series, in an interview producers apparently liked so much they stretched it across multiple episodes. Shot at the artist’s home, the interview features Sendak being characteristically feisty and sharp-tongued, describing GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich as an “idiot,” and later calling his interviewer the same name. (“That is an interesting point of view,” Sendak at one point says, responding to a comment by Colbert, “but not interesting to me particularly.”)

Colbert’s questions touched briefly on the gay element of Sendak’s identity, but not on his Jewish background — at least not directly. Introducing Sendak’s latest book, “Bumble-Ardy,” Colbert at one point tells viewers, “I highly recommend the book — unless you are Jewish. You can’t read books about pork” — a reference to the pink pig on the cover. “Stick with ‘The Velveteen Rabbi.’ “

Watch Stephen Colbert’s interview with Maurice Sendak:

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Slideshow: Maurice Sendak’s Hanukkah Lamps

By Ezra Glinter

Courtesy of The Jewish Museum

Maurice Sendak is best known as a writer and illustrator of children’s books, most famously, “Where the Wild Things Are,” and more recently, “Bumble-Ardy,” published this year. Sendak, who was born to Polish Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn and lost much of his family in the Holocaust, also illustrated Isaac Bashevis Singer’s children’s story “Zlateh the Goat,” which received the Newbery Award, and “In Grandpa’s House,” written by his father, Philip Sendak. Needless to say, his Jewish roots run deep.

Now, Sendak has giving those feelings a different kind of expression by curating The Jewish Museum’s annual exhibit of Hanukkah Lamps, or Hanukkiot, selected from the museum’s extensive collection. Many of Sendak’s choices originate in Eastern Europe and recall the family that he lost there during the Holocaust. “I stayed away from everything elaborate. I kept looking for very plain, square ones, very severe looking,” he said. “Their very simplicity reminded me of the Holocaust. And I thought it was inappropriate for me to be thinking of elaboration.” The exhibit, on view until January 29, also includes original drawings from Sendak’s collaboration with Singer and with his father.

View a slideshow of Hanukkah lamps selected by Maurice Sendak:

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Out and About: Maurice Sendak's New Book; Israeli Raid on Jenin Theater

By Ezra Glinter

  • A new social networking site is based in the Proust Questionnaire.

  • Joel Schalit evaluates Berlin’s susceptibility to an Oslo-type attack.

  • Justin Bartha, who is currently starring in Zach Braff’s play “All New People,” will next appear in Jesse Eisenberg’s “Asuncion” at New York’s Cherry Lane Theater. The two actors last worked together in “Holy Rollers,” a film about Hasidic ecstasy smugglers.

  • The Freedom Theatre in Jenin, formerly led by slain actor Juliano Mer Khamis, was raided Tuesday night by Israeli Special Forces. Two people were detained.

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Out and About: Ashkelon's Adult Archeology Camp; Leonard Nimoy Lives Long and Prospers

By Ezra Glinter

Getty Images

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Out and About: Iran beats Israeli Chess Record; Thorstein Veblen on Jewish Intellectualism

By Ezra Glinter

Detail from a mural by Maurice Sendak, now at the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia.

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Out and About: Remembering Walter Benjamin; Polanski Wins Big in Europe

By Ezra Glinter

Wiki Commons

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