Prather’s Pick: Celebrating a children’s classic
This year I’ve chosen to celebrate Halloween with a book that reminds me of this time of year because its rather lovable characters are beasts. They’re “wild things,” inspired by a boy’s imagination. The picture book is a children’s classic, written back in 1963, and it’s a wonderful book to share with your children about ages 2 to 6. This is still a popular book, no matter its age.
“Where the Wild Things Are” was written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. In 1964 it was awarded the Caldecott Medal for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year.
Most children will be able to relate to Max, a young boy and main character of the book, because he gets sent to timeout in his room. It’s not that he didn’t deserve it. Earlier, Max had put on his white wolf costume with a big bushy tail and got into all kinds of mischief. He nailed a tied-together rope made from something like a bed sheet to the wall, using a huge hammer and nail. He was apparently making a tent. Then he chased the family dog with a fork. Worst of all, when his mother said he was acting like a “wild thing,” he answered disrespectfully, “I’ll eat you up.” That got him sent to his room—without supper.
Max is very thoughtful. Then a forest begins to grow in his room. First, there are tall trees. Then other types of vegetation fill in the room, and vines grow down from the ceiling. Max’s bed is no longer visible. An ocean appears and a sailboat, too, with Max’s name on it. He sails off.
Max is gone “in and out of a week” and almost a year to get to where the wild things live. The first wild thing Max encounters comes out of the ocean. It is a dragon with bushy hair, horns, and even a little beard.
Pretty soon Max comes upon an island where he finds all kinds of wild things. Talk about imaginative! Even though they have teeth and claws and horns and they gnash their teeth and roar, the wild things are lovable.
Max has a frown on his face. He’s not about to let the wild things scare him off. He tames them with a magic trick and the beasts think he’s the wildest of all. They make Max king. He has a crown and everything. By the light of the moon they all dance and jump up and down and howl. It’s a wild rumpus, indeed, but it doesn’t last long because Max gets lonely. Besides, he’s hungry.
The book I reviewed is a First Harper 25th Anniversary Edition, published by Harper Trophy, a Division of HarperCollinsPublishers. It is a paperback book which cost $4.95 back then. This is a great book! You can also find it at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.