Where the Wild Things Are


     Where the Wild Things Are Book

Where the Wild Things Are book is a popular children’s story written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, originally published in a 1963. The book tells the story of a boy named Max, who one evening decides to dress up in a wolf costume and go wild. As a punishment, he is sent to bed without supper by his mother. Up in his room, Max creates his own imaginary world, where the “wild things” are found.

The Plot Up in the Max’s room, a mysterious, wild forest begins to grow, and a wide ocean beckons the child’s little boat. Max sets sail for the land “where the wild things are”. Although the monsters seem very fierce, Max succeeds in taming them all by “staring into all their yellow eyes without blinking once”. Once the creatures realize that Max is, indeed, “…the most wild thing of all”, they crown him as their king. Max and the wild things proceed to have the time of their life frolicking freely and making a “rumpus”, until Max gets tired and begins to feel homesick. When the smell of hot supper waiting for him reaches his nostrils, Max sails back home despite the wild things’ loud protests. After returning from the land where the wild things are, Max finds that his supper is ready and his mom has forgiven him for mischief he had made.

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The Illustrations

What keeps consistently popular for over fifty years among children and adults alike is the story’s and the illustrations’ special appeal to the young readers. The pictures are creative, imaginative and humorous. It is interesting to note that in the original version of the story Maurice Sendak used horses instead of monsters, but the publisher suggested a change, claiming that Sendak couldn’t draw horses very well. It has been told that the monsters that replaced the horses are actually based caricatures of his aunts and uncles, the way he mischievously portrayed them in his young mind on family visits to Brooklyn. The childish style of Sendak’s illustrations of the Where the Wild Things Are book creates special charm for the story appealing to even the very young readers.

Underlying Meaning of Where the Wild Things Are Story

“Where the Wild Things Are” book has been analyzed as an exploration of a child’s relationship and confrontation with his parents (specifically, the mother). Max is confronted with his mother’s anger at his mischief, and has to deal with his own anger at being punished, as well. In Where the Wild Things Are, Max succeeds in managing his anger by “sailing away” from the conflict. After he lets himself be free in the imagined land where everything is the way he wants, he eventually comes to realize that the best place for him is not the land of the wild things, but his own home. Despite the fact the Where the Wild Things Are he is the king, and in his home he must obey his parent’ rules, he wants to be where he fells loved and cared for.

Helping Children Deal with Anger

It is important to help children verbalize their emotions and sympathize with them. The parent should acknowledge the child’s feelings of anger, jealousy, dependency and others. It is necessary, however, to teach the child to manage his emotions and not to act out impulsively. Using Max of Where the Wild Things Are, you can discuss with your child in a calm and pleasant way the feelings of anger, what can trigger it and how it can be managed. It’s important to stress that it’s ok to get angry, but it’s not ok to hurt others or break things out of anger. We see from the Where the Wild Things Are book that disengagement and imagination helped Max control his anger. Don’t speak to your child about anger management at the time that he is upset; first let him calm down and sort out his own feelings. You can discuss the issues later in a calm and peaceful setting.

Awards and Adaptations

In 1964, “Where the Wild Things Are” book became a winner of the Caldecott Medal as the “Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year.” At the time, the book was considered a pioneer of theme of dealing with children’s emotions. In the 1980s Maurice Sendak worked with British composer Oliver Knussen to produce a children’s opera based on the book. On October 16, 2009 a live-action film version of Where the Wild Things Are was released. In over forty years the creation of “Where the Wild Things Are”, Sendak’s classic illustrated story has become one of the best-loved and most highly acclaimed children’s books of all time. Now a new generation of readers world over can enjoy the free reign of imagination in the land” Where the Wild Things Are”.

Who knows? Maybe one day the publishing company of Where the Wild Things Are book will approach Story Time For Me to add to our library!



where the wild things are

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     Where the Wild Things Are Book
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