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Wild Things at the Library!

By Jessie at the Library Center

Your Springfield-Greene County Library District has brought yet another exciting exhibit to the Ozarks! “50 Years, 50 Works, 50 Reasons” is a display of original art and prints by the beloved author, Maurice Sendak. The Friends of the Library group has generously donated the money to bring the exhibit to the Library Center where it will be on display until Sunday, August 14. You can see early sketches of the monsters who would go on to swing through the trees with Max in Where the Wild Things Are, the chefs from In the Night Kitchen, and scenes from We’re All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy. The exhibit includes full-color prints of scenes from many of his books, theater set designs for operas and plays based on his works, and even a sculpture of Jack sailing his boat past the sea monster! Many of these pieces are on loan from private collections so getting to see them in Springfield is a rare treat.  

In addition to the amazing works by Maurice Sendak, the Library’s talented graphic designer, Jay Young, has drawn depictions of “Wild Things of the Ozarks,” on display in the concourse. Local History and Genealogy Department Manager Brian Grubbs, and Local History Associate Konrad Stump, mined the collections in their department to find stories of monsters and creatures rumored to haunt the Ozarks. They provided these descriptions to Jay who unleashed his imagination and skills to create a mesmerizing exhibit. We’ve even created postcard versions of each drawing free for you to take home and enjoy! 

When you visit the exhibit, you might keep in mind the following story that Sendak often shared when asked about how kids related to his work: 

“Once 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.” — Maurice Sendak

Sendak is also famously quoted as saying, “I don’t write for kids. I write and someone says it’s for children.”  

Things to ponder as you look at Sendak’s art: 

  • What emotions are being portrayed?

  • Are these monsters scary or not? Why or why not?

  • If you mimic the movements of these creatures, how does it make you feel? 

  • What response do you have to the colors being used?

  • How do you feel about the black and white drawings as compared to the full-color work?

We hope you enjoy the Wild Things at the Library!

Questions or need more ideas? Email