Speaking of children’s classics, I know you are all familiar with Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.
As part of a second grade unit on Maurice Sendak last week, I read Where the Wild Things Are aloud seven times, to seven different classes, and was reminded again of how much kids love this book. When I pull this book out, the kids go insane (in a good, albeit loud, way).
Bart loves this book too – early on in our dating, it came up that this is one of his favorite books of all time.
I like it as well – I think the story is sweet and funny, the illustrations are gorgeous, and I particularly love the balance between image and white space and how the white text part is edged out until there is nothing but image during the wild rumpus, after which the pictures begin to shrink back down to their original size and eventually disappear.
And yet, surprisingly, it’s a book I wasn’t really introduced to until I was an adult.
Oh, we had the book growing up.
But it was in French. My dad served an LDS mission in Paris and speaks French, so I’m guessing the book was a gift from his parents.
All growing up, I had absolutely no idea what the story line was. I’d seen the pictures here and there, but when you can’t read the book, it’s not all that motivating to pick it up.
I had absolutely no idea about Max’s threat to his mother, his banishment to his room, or his escape to where the wild things are. I had no idea that when he got home, to where someone loved him best, his supper was still hot.
It was a strange thing, to be 22 years old, and to flip open this book that had very familiar pictures, but have no idea what the story was.
And I can’t stop thinking about how different the experience of reading a book for the first time is when you are an adult than when you’ve known the book since before you can remember. I was less into the wild rumpus than a kid probably is, and more likely to be teary at the idea of Max missing his mother and sailing home to find his dinner waiting for him.