He was three, but he hadn’t yet left his terrible two’s when it came to temper tantrums. The first time we read the story, its wild (there’s no other word for it), authentic power seized us and didn’t let go until the last page. My son felt it, I felt it.
No matter how outlandish and dark the words and pictures, this story was about something very real to my son and me. Our arguments when I tried to discipline him and grew exasperated, his uncontrollable rage at being sent to time out – all of it was right there on the page. Another little boy and his mommy were doing THE EXACT SAME THING.
When I read, I had to roar my terrible roar and roll my terrible eyes. That was the very best part.
We wore that book out. Some of the pages tore and fell out. I still have our sons’ favorite books, but not Where the Wild Things Are. I looked for it this morning after I found out Maurice Sendak had passed away, but it wasn’t there. Must have been too tattered to keep.
Or maybe my son couldn’t bear to part with it and took it with him when he moved out on his own.
Thank you, Maurice Sendak.
It occurs to me I’ve written two blog posts in a row about books with “wild” in their titles. I think these authors are on to something when it comes to writing about human nature.
Do you have a Where the Wild Things Are memory? Children, grown children, mommies, daddies, anyone, please share in the comments.
Book cover is from Wikipedia.