Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Where the Wild Things Are: A Scary Bit of Children's Lit.

I love the imaginative element of this classic storybook by Maurice Sendak. Max is sent to his room without supper after acting like a "wild thing" and threatening to eat up his mother. Once in his room, though, his punishment becomes a foray into a young child's imagination. The walls become the world all around and vines hang down from the ceiling. Max steps into a private boat and sails off over days, weeks and years to the place where the wild things are.

Faced with these wild creatures with terrible claws and terrible roars, Max tames them by staring into their yellow eyes without blinking once. The wild things crown him King of All Wild Things and the wild rumpus begins. (This is where my children jump up from the couch and start dancing and marching around the room like wild things.)

Many times this year I have suggested we read this book, but our four-year-old consistently declined, "No...I don't like that book." And I'd think what's not to like?! I LOVE this book! Then I figured it out: It's too scary for him.

I tend to be a bit dramatic when I read, using voices and facial expressions to make stories come alive for the kids. [Back in B.C. times (Before Children), I was very involved in theater...I love to act and sing. Now my only outlet is storytime!] They usually love it, but it was probably a bit much for this story. I don't think they liked seeing Mommy become a wild thing! Now when I read this story, I leave the acting to the kids, and they like it a whole lot more when I just read it straight.

Our son turns five this week, and he is having his first birthday party with friends. And you know how I love a theme party (especially book themes!). I just finished his Max suit, complete with long, furry tail. His party starts at dusk with a boat ride across the lake to look for wild things. Then we'll have a wild rumpus around a bonfire on the beach. The kids will be invited to wear some wild things like animal print tails and scarves and decorate wild masks. Hopefully we won't traumatize any small children...I'll let you know how it goes!


  1. Donna, I thought you were out on the blogging! We are looking forward to the party! The book is a bit too scary for us, too. We only read it during afternoon or morning stories...night time seems to make it a little too real. :-)

    I personally can't wait for the wild rumpus!

  2. I will probably blog here as I feel inspired and as time permits. I just need to figure out when I can do some professional writing (i.e. the stuff that makes money!). We'll see how that goes.

    I'm really excited about the Wild Rumpus, and I think KID 1 is too! He really likes his Max suit.

  3. Welcome back! You've been missed. Hope you had a great Christmas!!!

  4. Glad you're back.

    My daughter is scared of everything and loves this book! Probably because I get carried away, too!

    I made paper dolls of the monsters and max and let her play with them while I read the story and we did the motions of the story together (rolling our eye together, putting our fingers out like claws, you get the idea)

  5. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Nice to hear from you all, too!

    We had a lovely Christmas, celebrating each night of Advent with a ceremonial candle lighting at the dinner table and a special reading (either from the Bible or a great Christmas storybook). We kept it small here and tried to keep the emphasis on the birth of that sweet baby in Bethlehem.

    Hope your Christmas was at least as good as ours was!

    Calina, the paper dolls sound great! You're a Momma after my own heart, it seems!

    I'll post again when inspiration strikes me!



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