Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak was my personal favorite bed time story as a child. I loved how Sendak displayed the wonder of a child’s imagination through his pictures, diction, and storyline all together. At the start of the book, the main character, Max, is being your every day kid and is up to no good. Despite his mother asking him to get ready for dinner, Max comes downstairs dressed in a wolf suit. Upon seeing this, Max’s mother sends him to bed with no supper, so he marches up stairs and lets his imagination take him far from his room. I think that the mothers reaction can be related to a thought that Locke brought up in the piece we read earlier in the week where he said, “Never trouble your self about those faults in them, which you know age will cure”. Here, the mother isn’t troubled by the fact that her son is being insubordinate because something like this is generally lost with age.
As Max begins to let his imagination take off, the walls of his room start to fade away and Max finds that he has been transported to a land of monsters. These monsters, however, are not scary and actually end up making Max their king. While on the island, the author uses common children’s book techniques to help reinforce common things for the kids. Concepts such as counting, where the picture would show seven monsters lined up and the line would say, “Seven monsters in a row, see the seven monsters go!”. As most kids do, Max enjoys his dream like play time for a while but towards the end, the author makes it clear that Max wants to be back home in his bed with this quote “And Max, the king of all wild things, was lonely, and wanted to be where someone loved him most”. It is here where Max decides he no longer wants to be king of the monsters, and even though they beg him to stay, Max goes back home and into his room where he finds dinner waiting for him, still hot.
I think the main point of the book is to show that despite all of the fun things that can come with dreaming and imagination, children should still know and love their parents most of all. The book is very creative and flowing due to the great pictures and often rhyming words. I think it is certainly appropriate for children of a certain age, just cause younger kids do not generally like books about monsters, even if they are friendly. This book definitely touches on ideas from the enlightenment. For example, where Blake compares children to birds in his poem, “The School Boy”. This book showcases that and backs up the idea I feel Blake is making where he says, “How can a bird that is made for joy, sit in a cage and sing?”. Blake felt that children really were meant to have their imagination’s be free because it is what they were meant to do, much like Max shows in his imaginative journey. I think this fits in well with Max because he is a child who doesn’t seem to want to do exactly what he is supposed to, but rather he wants to let his imagination fly him somewhere else all together. In relation to what Strasburger says when talking about how children are becoming “more and more sophisticated, mature, and socially savvy” at a young age, it seems that Max is an example of this. When speaking to his mother downstairs during dinner, Max is sarcastic and ends up getting himself sent to his room where he then goes on a wild ride. I see sarcasm as a pretty common theme amongst intellectual children and often times, imagination is related to a child’s creative intelligence. I think Sendak also believes this because he wrote this book with the twist of Max being in a dream and the idea that Max’s mother brought food up to him despite yelling at him. In writing this way, Sendak left the story open for children to understand more and more as the grow and continue to read.