Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are
Translated into Latin by Richard A. LaFleur (aka, Doctor Illa Flora)
Mauritio Sendacio, Magistro Fabularum et Picturarum
–For Maurice Sendak, Master of Stories and Pictures–
WHY (NOT) A LATIN WILD THINGS?
When Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are was first published in 1963, it became a classic almost overnight, selling more than 20 million copies to date and inspiring the creation of a host of offspring, including children’s toys, dolls, and puppets, board and video games, a 1980s children’s opera, co-scripted by Sendak himself, as well as other musical compositions, and the much praised 2009 feature film adaptation, directed by Spike Jonze. The book has earned countless recognitions, including the 1964 Randolph Caldecott Medal for "the most distinguished American picture book for children," and in 2015, a half century later, was ranked first in TIME magazine’s list of the top 10 children’s books for ages 3-11 (though truly the book’s appeal extends all the way to senior citizens!). It has been translated into numerous other languages, including French, German, Spanish, Hebrew, and even Finnish, but never until now into classical Latin.
In an oft related anecdote, Sendak, who passed away May 8, 2012, at age 83, once wrote of a young admirer: "A little boy sent me a charming card with a little drawing on it. I loved it. I answer all my children’s letters–sometimes very hastily–but this one I lingered over. I sent him a card and I drew a picture of a Wild Thing on it. I wrote, ‘Dear Jim: I loved your card.’ Then I got a letter back from his mother and she said: ‘Jim loved your card so much he ate it.’ That to me was one of the highest compliments I’ve ever received. He didn’t care that it was an original Maurice Sendak drawing or anything. He saw it, he loved it, he ate it." With a passion akin to that young fan’s, I must confess: libellum vidi, amavi, transtuli, "I saw the little book, I loved it, I translated it." I hope that Mr. Sendak would have considered this modest Latin rendering of his perpetually charming classic to be also a "high compliment," as it is most certainly intended, and also that lovers of what I affectionately dub "The Mother Tongue" will cherish this volume just as so many readers have enjoyed the Latin versions of such other children’s classics as Winnie Ille Pu (Winnie the Pooh), Cattus Petasatus (The Cat in the Hat), and Alicia in Terra Mirabili (Alice in Wonderland).
R. A. LaFleur
Magistra Cynthia Mancini with students Grace Avvenire and Philip Andersen, enjoying UBI FERA SUNT at the World Languages Fair at Jupiter High School in Jupiter, FL.
Author Rick LaFleur, and wife Alice Tipton LaFleur, at book launch and reading, AVID BOOK SHOP, Athens GA, 12-16-15
Rick LaFleur and Avid Books celebrate the release of Ubi Fera Sunt. See the Flagpole Magazine story HERE!
3-year-old Madeleine enjoying UBI FERA SUNT and joyfully awaiting the TURBA (RUMPUS)!!
Retired professor and writer James Hargrove reading UBI FERA SUNT to his grandson Wilde, who kept insisting, "Read it again, Grandpa!"
5-month-old Brooks getting a head-start on his Latin studies, thanks to his great aunt Linda!
FOR MORE INFORMATION
A lively, lovingly wrought Latin version of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, translated by noted Latinist Richard A. LaFleur (aka, Doctor Illa Flora).
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