Children's Lit Book Reviews

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Where The Wild Th
ings Are
By: Maurice Sendak
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copyright: 1963
Pages: 42
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Picture Book/Adventure
Award: Caldecott Award Winner

"Each word has been carefully chosen and the simplicity of the language is quite deceptive."


Summary: One night, a young boy named Max decides to wear his wolf suit and run around the house creating a ruckus. After awhile Max gets sent to room without any supper for threatening to eat his annoyed mother because she had previously called him a " Wild Thing." Then, in his mind a forest grows in his room. Max boards a ship that takes him across oceans for days and eventually for over a year to the home of where it is claimed that Wild Things dwell. Upon his landing on the distant land, the acclaimed wild things notice the little boy and threaten him with snarls and claws and eye rolling. But even this doesn't frighten Max, and decides to work his magic on the monsters by saying, "Be still." After taming them with his magic, he bravely stares each of the Wild Things in the eyes and then declares himself the wildest thing of all. Max commands them, as their king, to let the wild rumpus resume, and he joins in the fun they were having before he arrived. Max quickly gets bored with his new adventure and yearns to be home where he smelled good things to eat. He then decides to relinquish his rule over the Wild Things and sails back home. Once he broke the news to the Wild Things, they cried to their newly made King, " Oh please don't go, we'll eat you up, we love you so!" but even that doesn't convince Max to stay with the Wild Things. In mourning over his decision, the Wild Things roar a terrible roar and gnash their teeth as Max climbs back in his boat and waves good bye. After what seemed like a year to Max, he finally finds himself in his room only to find supper waiting and still hot.
Who would benefit from reading this book?: This is such a great book I recommend
to all picture book lovers and readers alike. The lessons taught within this book are original. One thing it teaches is that parents really do love there children unconditionally regardless of what they do. This is manifested when Max returns to his room and notices that dinner is waiting for him regardless of the previous disagreement. This book also encourages use of imagination which is why everyone would benefit from this book. Even adults need to use their imagination.
What problems/concerns would this book potentially cause?: I don't think there are many concerns of problems this book would cause, if any at all. One potential problem is that in the beginning it shows disrespect for parents. But other than that, this is a positive book for children of all ages.
My reaction: I loved this book. I remember having this read to me as a child by my teachers in elementary school. This is truly Sendak's best book with some of the most unique pictures. These are shown within the 6 pages of nothing but pure illustrations. This is exactly the reason Sendak won the Caldecott Award for this remarkable book. I recommend this book to every parent and teacher.

posted by Jon Dale at 7:11 PM


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