Where The Wild Things Are

It’s been a few years since I have red this children’s book. Actually it must be at least 25 years. Or more. I’ve thought about this book for a while. It took me a while to find out what the name was and who wrote it. My wife proved invaluable and finding out key details about it. She remembers the book as well. I wonder if there are a lot of people who haven’t read this book. I wonder if it’s a global phenomenon. It won the Caldecott Medalm, one among many prizes this children’s book won.

This is the second book that I’ve thought about this week. The first was Lord of the Flies.

I remember reading this when I was very young. The book was either in English or German, I can’t remember. But I do remember Max’s costume and the monsters. My favorite monster of all has always been Moishe (scroll down to see a few images of Moishe). I just love the way that Sendak drew the claws and the monsters. My mothers used to buy a lot of books for me when I was younger. This continued until I was a young adult. It’s one of the best things my mother has ever done for me and I can only wish that I do the same for my children: giving the love of reading.

Sendak gained international acclaim after writing and illustrating Where the Wild Things Are, though the book’s depictions of fanged monsters concerned parents when it was first released, as his characters were somewhat grotesque in appearance. Sendak’s seeming attraction to the forbidden or nightmarish aspects of children’s fantasy have made him a subject of controversy.

As I reread the story again as an adult, I remember how scary the monsters were initially. How delighted I was to find out that the monsters weren’t mean.

The story itself reads more like a poem than a children’s book. I really enjoyed it again, and will probably try to find a nice edition over the weekend at PageOne. I’ve always enjoyed stories about dreamlife. One of my favorite stories of all is the story of The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (published by Vertigo Comics from 1989 to 1996). You have to read this graphic novel to understand (graphic novel is a nice way of saying a comic, but the story is available in different hardcover or softcover paperbacks which are easy to find and read. I own the original versions).

I’ve also learned that an adaptation by Spike Jonze is on the way for next year. That will be an interesting movie to see. Click here to see a review of the script by Big Screen Little Screen.

Where The Wild Things Are cover via Wikipedia

Where The Wild Things Are cover via Wikipedia

The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind

and another

his mother called him “WILD THING!”

and Max said “I’LL EAT YOU UP!”

so he was sent to bed without eating anything.

Moishe on the left and Bernard on the right.

That very night in Max’s room a forest grew

and grew-

and grew until his ceiling hung with vines

and the walls became the world all around

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.

Moishe bowing to Max, the king of all wild things.

And when he came to the place where the wild things are

they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth

and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws

till Max said “BE STILL!”

The toys by Todd McFarlane.

and tamed them with the magic trick

of staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once

and they were frightened and called him the most wild thing of all

and made him king of all wild things.

“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”

“Now stop!” Max said and sent the wild things off to bed

without their supper. And Max the king of all wild things was lonely

and wanted to be where someone loved him best of all.

Then all around from far away across the world

he smelled good things to eat

so he gave up being king of where the wild things are.

But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go-

we’ll eat you up- we love you so!”

And Max said, “No!”

A close-up of the Moishe toy.

The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth

and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws

but Max stepped into his private boat and waved good-bye

and sailed back over a year

and in and out of weeks

and through a day

and into the night of his very own room

where he found his supper waiting for him

and it was still hot.

Where the Wild Things Are By Maurice Sendak (1963)


Partial bibliography

  • Kenny’s Window (1956)
  • Very Far Away (1957)
  • The Sign On Rosie’s Door (1960)
  • The Nutshell Library (1962)
    • Chicken Soup with Rice (A Book of Months)
    • Alligators All Around (An Alphabet)
    • One Was Johnny (A Counting Book)
    • Pierre (A Cautionary Tale)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
  • In the Night Kitchen (1970)
  • Ten Little Rabbits: A Counting Book With Mino The Magician (1970)
  • Some Swell Pup or Are You Sure You Want a Dog? (written by Maurice Sendak & Matthew Margolis and illustrated by Maurice Sendak) (1976)
  • Seven Little Monsters’ (1977)
  • Higglety Pigglety Pop!, Or: There Must be More to Life (1967) ISBN 0-06-028479-X
  • Fantasy Sketches (1981)
  • Outside Over There (1985)
  • We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy: Two Nursery Rhymes with Pictures (Harper Collins) (1983)
  • Singing Family of the Cumberlands (written by Jean Ritchie)
  • Maurice Sendak’s Christmas Mystery (1995) (a box with a Book and a Jigsaw Puzzle)
  • Hector Protector and As I Went Over the Water: Two Nursery Rhymes
  • Caldecott and Co: Notes on Books and Pictures (1990)
  • Mommy? (Maurice Sendak’s first Pop-up book) (2006)

Partial bibliography as illustrator

4 Responses to “Where The Wild Things Are”


  1. 1 sarah October 17, 2009 at 12:08

    I love that book too. Where did you find out the monsters’ names? I cannot find them and they are not in the kids book. You list them but where did you find that out?

  2. 2 range October 17, 2009 at 13:22

    You can try Wikipedia. At the time, I was researching the book and found out a lot of info about it.

  3. 3 range October 17, 2009 at 14:49

    Sendak gave the monsters the names of his relatives: Tzippy, Moishe, Bruno, Emile, and Bernard.

  4. 4 Rene Valdez March 11, 2010 at 10:13

    Just one piece of the heart that makes Americans what we really are!!One of the best novels ever written.


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