This week, we’re celebrating MONSTERS! And when I think monsters, my mind immediately goes to Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Which is appropriate since the movie is coming out this Friday.
When trying to decide which pages to include in this post, I couldn’t leave anything out. Each illustration is so iconic, so well known.
According to Wikipedia, Sendak based the monsters on his aunts and uncles.
I wonder if his uncle had a stripey shirt like that? Actually, if I squint and look real fast, I can see a pair of those awful plaid pants guys used to wear in the 70’s in the pattern of his legs.
But, I digress. In the story, a little boy named Max is having a bad night. In fact, he behaves abominably,
chasing the poor dog,
and threatening to eat his mother,
so he’s sent to his room, where a forest grows
until it takes over his room.
There’s a boat waiting for him, which he uses to sail away
until he reaches the land where the wild things are.
The wild things try to scare Max but he calms them down with a magic trick
and they make him king of all the wild things.
Ahhh – the wild rumpus. What child doesn’t need a wild rumpus every now and then?
What adult couldn’t use the release of a wild rumpus every now and then?
I sure could. I’m tempted to let loose right now … but I’m at work and I have my dignity to think of.
Well, maybe just a little rumpus. Hold on – I’ll be right back! ……………..
Okay, continuing on. After letting off some steam, Max realizes that being king isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be and wants to go back to “where someone loves him best of all.”
So he gets back into his boat and sails away, even though the wild things really want him to stay.
He makes his way back to his room,
to where someone has laid out his dinner.
I love the way Maurice Sendak wrote this book. There are only nine sentences in the whole story, and yet they stay with you. How beautiful is sailing “through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year”?
When I was teaching kindergarten, I used the book to teach map skills. What better use of imagination than to have the kids draw a map between Max’s room and the land where the wild things are? I had one student keep coming up for more paper and when I asked him why he needed so many sheets, he told me that if you’re traveling over a year, you need to go REALLY FAR! Can’t argue with that logic!