Publication Date: April 19, 1963
Themes: Family, Love, Loneliness
Young Max is called a “wild thing” by his mother when he begins to act up. When he enters his room, without supper, he enters an imaginative world where odd wild creatures live. After taming the wild things, the young boy realizes he’s missing something – the person who loves him the most, and he sails back home.
I was one that did not actually read this as a child, so I have no nostalgia attached to it. Being a teacher, of course, I saw this book everywhere, but I don’t think I’ve actually sat down and read it. Originally, I wasn’t able to get a copy of Where the Wild Things Are, but the library had a video of the book, so I watched that instead.
Right from the beginning, I was a little disturbed with the character of Max. It’s one thing to be a bit wild and playful, but it’s another to take pure joy in threatening a little dog with a fork, scream at his mother that he will eat her, and then be extremely mean to the monsters he meets. Honestly, the dog picture was what got to me the most. I had a student who thought animals couldn’t feel emotions and/or physical pain, which is disturbing to think how a child could treat a helpless animal if they thought animals had no feelings. I just don’t think the mistreatment of animals should be shown in a children’s book unless it’s to show that the action is incorrect. As a spoiler, that aspect does not get resolved. No talking to mom about it, no apology, no hugs and/or kisses to the family dog. It would sadden me if any child thought it was okay to treat a helpless animal the way Max treated his dog.
All this aside, I did enjoy the funky and trippy illustrations, especially of the monsters. They could be considered scary, but also silly at the same time. In the end, I do believe Max preferred love over bossing people around, but I wished the author and illustrator would have shown that better.
Overall, this imaginative book could be an entertaining and fun tool for children, but I would maybe have a conversation with youngsters how Max would treat the ones who love him from now on. Perhaps he would talk to his mom a bit more respectfully and perhaps instead of chasing his dog with a fork and scaring the poor thing, he could play chase and toss a ball with his dog in the backyard.
I would recommend this book to toddlers to kindergartners to read, and have a conversation about the book, with their parents, guardians, and/or teachers.
Was this a book of my choosing or one for review?
38 out of 50 books of my choosing for 2018!