“Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak; Harper Collins Publishers; New York; copyright 1963
1. Awards this book has won: Caldecott Medal
2. Appropriate grade level: Kindergarten and up
3. Summary: Max is a little boy who is wearing his wolf suit and making mischief of all kinds on the night this story takes place. His mother calls him”WILD THING!” and he responds by saying, “I'LL EAT YOU UP!” This gets him sent to bed without anything to eat. Max stands in his room while it turns into a jungle around him. The jungle continues to grow, and an ocean appears with a boat just for Max. Max gets into his boat and travels through night and day, in and out of weeks, and almost over a year until he reaches the land of the wild things. The wild things are truly fearsome as they gnash their teeth, roll their eyes, and roar their terrible roars. However, Max tames them by shouting “BE STILL!” and staring them all in the eyes without blinking. They realize that Max is the most wild thing of all, and crown him king of all wild things. His first royal decree is to “let the wild rumpus start!” Max and his wild things dance and sing, climb trees, and have a wild parade. Max eventually calls for an end to the rumpus and sends the wild things to bed. Max sits alone while the wild things sleep and decides he wants to go back home. Despite the wild things' protests, he takes the long journey back to his bedroom. Once home, he finds supper waiting for him – still hot.
Review: I've loved this book for as long as I can remember, and I still find things that surprise me about it. For instance, I never realized until just now that there is a drawing of a wild thing on the wall on the page where Max chases the dog. Sendak's illustrations are wonderful, and I especially love seeing the transformation of Max's bedroom. The wild things are amazing, imaginative creatures, and Sendak's genius is apparent to the reader. This is a timeless book, and I hope it continues to delight generations of children to come.
4. Uses in the classroom:
-Discuss why Max was sent to his room. Ask children why they think Max was misbehaving.
-Ask children where they think Max really went. Encourage a discussion about imaginary lands.
-Set up a dramatic play center to look like the land of the wild things and allow children to have their own wild rumpus (under supervision, we don't want them smacking each other).
-Have children draw their own wild things to hang in the classroom.”