April 4, 2011

Bumble-Ardy finally gets a book


Remember the old Sesame Street cartoon about Bumble-Ardy, the kid who, on his 9th birthday, invites over 9 pigs for birthday cake and wine? This became a classic Sesame Street spot for lots of reasons, not least of which was the fact that the writer and animator was Maurice Sendak.

Sendak, the writer of canonical works of children’s literature such as Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, has decided that, after 40 years, it is time for Bumble-Ardy to make his print debut. And what a debut it will be: Sendak’s publisher HarperCollins will be printing 500,000 copies of Bumble-Ardy this fall.

In this interview with Katharine Rosman for the Wall Street Journal, Sendak explained why he thought Bumble-Ardy deserved a book. “He was funny. He was robust. He was sly. He was a sneak,” he said. “He was all the things I like.”

There are a few major departures from the original cartoon, however. In the new version, Bumble-Ardy is not a boy but a pig. Why the change? “Boys tend, generally speaking, to be pigs,” Sendak says. Also, in a sign that the 82-year-old Sendak has mellowed–if just a bit–with age, he decided to change “wine” to “brine.” Of this change, he told Rosman that “I didn’t think I could get away with wine in this day and age.”

But until the new book is out, you can still enjoy all of the subversive fun of underaged, interspecies drinking of the orignal cartoon. Cheers.