In honor of the recent passing of beloved author Maurice Sendak, this week’s Alike but Indie’s focus is on children’s books. Sendak brought joy to children of all ages since 1963 when Where the Wild Things Are first graced bookstore shelves. With original tales and stunning illustrations, Sendack’s stories are simply magical.
In Where the Wild Things Are, Max is in pursuit of some shenanigans. He puts on his wolf suit and soon after, he is sent to bed with no dinner. No worries for Max, however, whose room transforms into a magical forest where the wild things live. As little Max enters a world of make believe that borders on scary and embraces laughter and wonder completely, children everywhere (including myself) sat on the edge of their chairs to hear what would happen next. With amazingly creative illustrations and unrivaled originality, Where the Wild Things Are takes readers to an unforgettable place.
If you loved Where the Wild Things Are (and who didn’t?), check out these indie children’s tales of wonder.
Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know by Hamilton Mabie is a treasury of public domain stories that was put together to provide a sampling of great children’s tales. The collection is available on Amazon for free! It contains such heart warmers as The Three Bears and The Princess and the Pea and Tom Thumb. In addition, the collection includes mischievous favorites like Hansel and Gretel and The Story of Aladdin. For a sampling of various classic children’s stories (reprinted by an independent press created by a husband and wife team: how cool is that!) this is a collection for anyone who likes to dream away and get lost in a bevy of magical possibilities.
In John H. Carroll’s Zachary Zombie and the Lost Boy, A Story for Demented Children, there is an element of the bizarre that is similar to the fantastical world in Wild Things with a twist of the absurd added in. Zachary is a zombie who serves Gert; a wicked witch. Zachary comes across a lost boy: Tobias, who is tailing an emo bunny to try and cheer it up. The boy requests that Zachary help him find his way back home. The two encounter some wacky characters as they travel, and stop at a party in a cemetery. The author warns that this is not a story that you would select if you wish to raise a normal, well-adjusted child…but who’s to say we adults don’t want to know more? And who wants their kids to just be normal anyway?
Red, Right, Return by June Keating Sherwin is an adventurous tale about a boy named Chad who sees something fishy while out at sea. In the Florida Keys, eleven year old Chad spies men diving in a place they shouldn’t be. What are they looking for? Treasure perhaps? In an effort to find out, Chad and his sister Georgene go looking for answers. Swimming through a rather dismal and dangerous swamp after being kidnapped, the boy and girl are almost eaten by alligators and snakes. With just the right amount of creepy thrown in, Red, Right, Return takes place in a beautiful location full of family, fun and intrigue. Floridian suspense for all ages lies in wait.
In When Comes What Darkly Thieves by Ben Rubin, we meet gypsies who steal children amongst a barrage of eerie but intriguing artwork. The contrast of weird and beautiful; with no two pictures alike, is reminiscent of Wild Things in its originality and its appeal to children and adults. Beware of Zinganas, the blind king of gypsies who promises you what you most want and then steals the moonbeams from your eyes. Intrigued? We are! This book is as original as its title and promises a thrilling adventure.
Lily Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler is a book for kids dealing with a tough situation: saying goodbye. In this case it is a little girl named Lily who has to bid her dad farewell as he is deployed in the military. It’s rare to find such a specific topic in a kid’s book, and refreshing to see that Lily is based on a real girl with this very issue. Written for the author’s young granddaughter, Lily Hates Goodbyes lets children know that it’s OK to be sad and in the end, everything will work out as it is meant to be.
Each of these awesome indies brings something original to the shelf. From treasure hunters to gypsies, to regular little girl or boy, there is a special part of every story here that calls to its readers and beckons them nearer. Just like Where the Wild Things Are, these indies take the unexpected and present it in a fresh new way. Check them out and let us know what you think!