KID SALVAJE, Where the Wild Things Are meets el Santo





















These are images from a children’s book I put together a few months ago called Kid Salvaje. It is a re-interpretation of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. Perhaps the best picture book of all time.

There are many great re-interpretations of classics. Romeo and Juliet has West Side Story, the Odyssey has Joyce’s Ulysses. My favorite is Black Orpheus based on the Orpheus myth; incredible movie and music for anyone that has not seen it.

I find Sendak’s story to be very archetypal. That is probably why it is loved by so many. In a nutshell Max, a kid who is wearing a wolf suit, gets in trouble for misbehaving. He is sent to his room which turns into a forest from which he journeys off to the land where the wild thing live. After an intense adventure he returns to his room with a new appreciation of his home.

In Kid Salvaje -salvaje is spanish for wild- Junior, the main character, loves Mexican wrestling. He gets in trouble too. But his room turns into an arena with a wrestling ring where he encounters los Rudos.

For my research I watched some Mexican wrestling live for the first time. Fun, fun, fun. Those dudes can really fly.

And I watched some of el Santo’s movies. I recommend el Santo vs the Crime King. It gives an explanation for el Santo’s origin. I’ve heard el Santo vs the Vampire women is pretty good but have I not watched it yet.

el Santo

el Santo

What I admire the most of Sendak’s book  is the way  the words and images compliment each other and create a greater seamless whole. And I admire too the way the book is designed and structured. It is conceived in its totality.

boceto del libro

a sketch by Miguel Tanco of WWTA storyboard

Miguel Tanco a wonderful illustrator, has a great entry on his blog about it ( his blog is in Spanish and Italian). The sketch of the storyboard above is a sketch he made.


and grew, and grew

The book begins with a small image of Max causing mischief. Gradually the images in the book grow, until they cover the entire page. It parallels the way that Max becomes immersed in the world of the Wild Things. As Max leaves that world the images grow small again.

I’m planning on self-publishing Kid Salvaje on Lulu or Blurb for anyone that is interested in getting a copy. Or for any publisher out there interested in seeing more, feel free to contact me.

I recently found out about a great website called Terrible Yellow Eyes with tons of artwork by many different artists inspired by Sendak’s book. I’m sure most Where The Wild Things lovers are aware of it. But for anyone that doesn’t, I highly recommend it.

…Oh yeah, and the Spike Jonze movie based on the book just made 32.5 million dollars on its opening weekend.


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3 Responses to “KID SALVAJE, Where the Wild Things Are meets el Santo”

  1. Where the Wild Things Meet Mexican Wrestling « 100 Scope Notes Says:

    […] Mexican wrestling? If you’d prefer not to answer, you may say “pass”. Anyway, in Kid Salvaje by Duncan Tonatiuh, we get our answer. For the record, as far as books inspired by Where the Wild Things Are go, […]

  2. Dodie Says:

    You did a great interpretation of the book! Have you seen the movie? I took my daughter on Friday night. I was very disappointed. I feel that the movie missed all the points that the book made. Max is a neglected child. His mom is a single, working mom who doesn’t have enough time for him. He then acts out – in front of the mom’s boyfriend, oh my! And is not punished by his mom, but runs out the front door and while he is running down the street, the world around him turns into this other world. The wild things do not respect him and really think of him as a king. He leaves before he can get eaten, and enters his home through the front door. The mom seems relieved that he came back home, but I didn’t really get the warm, fuzzy feeling that I always get when I read the book. I can’t believe Maurice Sendak actually had a say in the movie! I was very disappointed 😦

    • duncantonatiuh Says:

      Thanks for the compliments! I’m living in Mexico. I’m not sure what the release date for the movie is here. I have not seen much publicity for it, which surprises me.
      That book is tough act to follow. Book and movies are two different art forms. I guess one has to look at them as almost indpendent from each other.
      I’ll definitely go see the movie when it comes out; at least to know what all the noise is about.

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