Author: Maurice Sendak
Genre: Monsters / Dream / Adventure / Drama
Year Published: 1963
Year Read: 1992
Publisher: Red Fox
Content Rating: Ages 5+ (Some Scary Imagery of Monsters and Some Rebellious Behavior)
“Where the Wild Things Are” is Maurice Sendak’s most popular children’s book and has won the Caldecott Medal for being the most distinguished picture book of the year. Many libraries across the country have dedicated themselves to this book because of its imaginative creatures and illustrations. This book deserves the title “best children’s book” that it gained over the years.
Maurice Sendak beautifully illustrates this book with pastel colors and occasional pencil scratching for the wild things’ hair. The illustrations that were the true highlights of this book were of the wild things having a party in six pages of the book and of Max sailing in his private boat at night when he comes back home from where the things are. Max’s character is also highlighted in this book as he responds to what a child would face if their reality is harsh and usually most children would try to imagine a world where they can do anything they want and not get in trouble with the things they do. However, when Max realizes that the wild things do not love him as much as his mother does; he decides to face reality when he returns home from where the wild things are.
Parents should know that for children who have not read “Where the Wild Things Are” might be frightened by the images of the monsters in this book. The monsters are portrayed as being half human, half animal, and half of other various creatures such as a monster on the cover of the book that has human feet and the body of a bull. These monsters may be too scary for small children as they appear to be extremely threatening towards the main character, Max, at the beginning of the book when they showed their terrible claws and teeth. However, as the book progresses, the monsters turned out to be a bit timid around Max which may lessen the fear that children would have for these monsters.
“Where the Wild Things Are” is clearly a distinguished children’s book ahead of its time and has remained to be one of the best picture books of all time. Its theme about how children use imagination to occasionally escape the perils of their lives is clearly defined in this book and would help many children realize how helpful imagination can be for their lives. However, parents may want to read this book before they show it to their children and see if their children like the monsters in this book. I would strongly recommend this book for ages five and over because while the book is easy to read, the monsters may be too much for children under five to handle.
*Winner: 2009 Indies Choice Book Award for Picture Book Hall of Fame
*Winner: American Library Association (ALA) Notable Book