Where the Wild Thing Are
New York: Harper Collins, 1963
To Elijah I wrote: “Every child needs a copy of Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. You know why? Because every child is a wild thing from time to time. It makes a Mom want to sigh and roll her eyes.” I should have added it makes a Dad want to sigh and roll his eyes, too.
When I read the book it reminds me that firmness, kindness, love, and patience all go together when you are raising children. Raising children is hard and not for the faint of heart. These attributes are most imperative when your child has gotten on your last nerve and your patience is shredded. I imagine Max had tromped on his Mom’s last nerve and shredded her patience to smithereens. Look at the pictures, you’ll see!
In this story, Max was in a mood and was mad at his mother. She sent him to bed without his dinner. In his imagination, he ran away to the where the wild things are. He conquered the wild things and was made their king. They had a wild rumpus. When all the hoopla died down, however, “Max wanted to be where someone loved him best of all”. He went home. And in her loving kindness, his Mom left him supper and “it was still warm!” As I said, firmness, kindness, love and patience all go together! I think Max was well loved. It called him home.
This is a terrific book to read aloud! All the wildness, the growling and gnashing of teeth. I think, if I was doing the library story hour, I might try to stage a little production from the book. The children could act it out as it was being read. I love to watch children use their imaginations! Maurice Sendak gave them such scope! He may have said that he didn’t write for children, but I think they appreciate and cherish his books.
For this book he was awarded the Caldecott Medal for Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year in 1964. I’ve mentioned this award in previous posts. You can find the list of winners at this location: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/caldecottmedal/caldecottwinners/caldecottmedal.
These days most people know something about Maurice Sendak. Where the Wild Things Are is one of his most well-known books.
Here’s the things I did know about Maurice Sendak.
- I adore his books.
- His books caused a stir. Some people thought Where the Wild Things Are was too scary. His book In the Night Kitchen made the banned books list. At some point, he said: “You cannot write for children… They’re much too complicated. You can only write books that are of interest to them.” How wise a man he was.
- He’s won the Caldecott Medal.
- He did the set design for a production of the Nutcracker.
- He’s illustrated and written many books.
- I love his collaboration with Else Holmelund Minarik in the Little Bear series
- I absolutely adore his collaboration with Carole King.
- I think he was a masterful writer and illustrator.
- Did I mention I adore his books?
Here are some things I didn’t know about him.
- He worked as a window dresser at FAO Shwartz1.
- He wrote an opera base on Where the Wild Things Are1. Here’s a link to a small sample: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TyU9E6hbsf4
- Did he like ebooks? No, he did not!
- I am sure there are many other things I don’t know.
As he is a contemporary author, there are many articles and interviews that are available to you to view. Here are some you might check out.
- Ten Things You Might Not Know about Maurice Sendak: http://mentalfloss.com/article/30618/10-things-you-might-not-know-about-maurice-sendak
- Maurice Sendak, Author of Splendid Nightmares, Dies at 83: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/09/books/maurice-sendak-childrens-author-dies-at-83.html?_r=0
- Maurice Sendark, Really Rosie and the Intelligence of Children: http://www.npr.org/sections/monkeysee/2012/05/08/152271010/maurice-sendak-really-rosie-and-the-intelligence-of-children
- Interview with Maurice Sendak: http://www.pbs.org/now/arts/sendak.html
- An Illustrated Talk With Maurice Sendak: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH2OaaktJrw