* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page…
Today’s great book: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963, Harper and Row).
Time to Read: short and sweet; bedtime; when your child has been difficult or wants to run away
Summary: Max is the little boy who decides to make a mess of his home before his parents discipline him by sending him to his room without any supper. As Max grows frustrated, his room transforms itself into a jungle and small sailing boat appears at the magical shoreline. He sails away to a land of giant monster-like creatures called Wild Things, whom Max intimidates so well that he is made their king. Max finally decides to return to his real home, where a hot supper awaits him.
Best Quote: “And an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max. And he sailed off through night and day, and in and out of weeks, and almost over a year to where the wild things are.”
Our View: I have loved this book since I was a child and it later played an important role in helping me master my student teaching semester with 25 kindergartners over a decade ago. I must have read it a hundred times when I was a child, but when I was introduced to it again after I found it in a storage box in my attic not long after I became a father, it held a new magic over me. I have enjoyed reading it to all three of my daughters and reminiscing with them about how much I loved it when I was a boy. I simply wanted to be Max and I wanted a small sailing boat just like the one in the book. Mary Pols of Time magazine wrote that “[w]hat makes Sendak’s book so compelling is its grounding effect: Max has a tantrum and in a flight of fancy visits his wild side, but he is pulled back by a belief in parental love to a supper ‘still hot,’ balancing the seesaw of fear and comfort.” Another wrote that Sendak alluded to his books as describing “how children master various feelings – danger, boredom, fear, frustration, jealousy – and manage to come to grips with the realities of their lives.” Where the Wild Things Are, at only a little more than 300 words, does just that!
Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – “What the Wild Things Eat” – created by the kids to accompany this particular book.