With the obvious success of Spike Jonze’s live-action adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s infamous children’s book Where the Wild Things Are (which came in as #1 this weekend with a healthy $32 million opening weekend), it’s no surprise that there’s a reawakened interest in the story behind the movie. Originally published in 1963, Where the Wild Things Are, the story by Maurice Sendak is regarded as a landmark children’s classic and has won numerous awards. And for those who can’t get enough of the original story, Scholastic Storybook Treasures has a children’s DVD featuring Where the Wild Things Are and five more of Sendak’s stories.

The DVD is 54 minutes long (including all features) and includes what might best be described as an audiobook  on video version of Where the Wild Things Are (in English, French, and Spanish) as well as similar incarnations of Pierre, a story of a young boy with a bad habit of saying “I don’t care” who learns his lesson when he meets a hungry lion, One Was Johnny, a counting story involving imaginative animals, Alligators All Around, an ABC-training story that involves alligators at every turn, Chicken Soup With Rice, and In the Night Kitchen, Sendak’s personal favorite about a young boy named Mickey who experiences an exciting evening in a kitchen with several chefs.

There’s also a short interview with Sendak himself, entitled “Getting to Know Maurice Sendak” in which Sendak recounts the history of Where the Wild Things Are and a few of his other stories. This appears to be an interview from the ’80s and is, in fact, a very interesting peek into the author’s life, though it feels entirely too short. Also included in the DVD case is a sheet of Where the Wild Things Are stickers that are cool enough for adults to enjoy now that Spike Jonze has hippified the four-decade old imagery of Max and the Wild Things.

Overall, this collection of short cartoon stories feels a little dated when compared with the Pixar magic that this generation of children is used to. That being said, there’s still plenty to be loved in this collection, and watching the original story of Max becoming king of the Wild Things unfold on your television may be just the kind of thing your kid is interested in seeing these days. It’s like hiring a professional to read to your kids.

Zach’s Rating: B
Perfect For: Anyone who grew up with Where the Wild Things Are and wants to showcase the original story in line with the new film release
Stay Away if: You’re expecting special effects and story-line to match the new feature

To purchase Where the Wild Things Are… and 5 More Stories by Maurice Sendak, visit Amazon

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