Sendak in Spring: A day at the Rosenbach

I’m always looking for inexpensive activities to do with my 6-year-old daughter on the weekends. This past weekend, however, we were already jammed pack with get-togethers with friends. Then someone emailed me about the Wild Things Whirligig at the Rosenbach Museum and Library. I immediately started rearranging schedules so that I could take my daughter. I am so grateful that I did!

As I looked down 20th Street, I tried to figure out where the museum was. I couldn’t see any distinguishing features from the corner. We walked down the street further, and I saw a sidewalk chalk drawing of a wild thing with a message reading, “Wild Things This Way!”

We were greeted by several very friendly staff members and after I paid (a mere $15 for both of us) they handed me tickets to the Whirligig. We had some time before the show and so we started to browse around the other activities. The first one my daughter ran to was a crowded table of children making books. They rubbed patterns on the paper and then folded them to make their own little books.

The show was running a little bit late, so we took the opportunity to walk through the Sendak gallery. Later I was told the history of how Maurice Sendak visited the Rosenbach years ago. He was so impressed with the book collection that when it came time to give away his original artwork, he donated them to the Rosenbach. This is why every year they have these activities for Sendak in Spring. My daughter, of course, just pranced around the room pointing out every picture of Max that she could find. I lovingly stared at all the amazing pictures drawn by one of my favorite children’s authors.

Still a bit early, we stopped to have a snack in the room down the hall, and then time for the show! It was an operatic mixture of various Sendak books about several children leaving home to go to Very Far Awaysia. There they meet the wild things and Puck (a character who influenced Sendak in his work). We were given wooden spoons and metal dishes to bang when the time came for the wild rumpus. We had fabric to throw into the air. Children were asked if they ever made a wild rumpus before. I raised my daughter’s hand for her. Parents were asked if they thought they could make a wild rumpus too. I enthusiastically shook my head yes! My daughter’s eyes followed the characters around the room as they danced and ran from one end to the other. I smiled from ear to ear at the colorful and silly display.

After the Whirligig, we were invited upstairs for music and storytelling. There we met Storyteller Irma and Papa Ed. Storyteller Irma told us a story about Anansi the Spider, a well-known trickster in many African tales. The children (and grown-ups) were not just encouraged, but required to participate. My daughter was fascinated by Storyteller Irma, and when the tale of Anansi was over, she wanted another story! She was not only obliged, but also made a part of the story along with a little boy. They acted out the tale of why dogs and cats do not get along anymore. The kids and the parents were hysterical. Papa Ed then shared some of his instruments with us, playing music on the diddley bow and another instrument whose name I can’t recall.

We spent the rest of our time with another craft: foam sticker door hangers. Another little girl came in to make her own. Of course, she and my daughter became great friends in a matter of seconds. I love that about children! We ended our Rosenbach experience with a walk through the gift shop, a place I could have easily spent a fortune in, if I had the fortune to spend! My daughter walked out with a small flip book and I with an Edgar Allen Poe magnet finger puppet.

I had heard of the Rosenbach Museum and Library before, but I admit that I knew very, very little about it. We had such a blast that I can’t wait to go back. Sendak in Spring is now going to be a permanent fixture on my yearly calendar!


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Joiane on March 21, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    I love reading your blog. 🙂 You write so beautifully. 🙂 Keep it up. Don’t let this fall to the side. It seems to really be helping you alot and I LOVE reading it!

    Love your forEVER sister in law 🙂



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