January 31, 2011

Have you read, Where The Wild Things Are?

What a silly question you may ask, but have you really read it?
I have read Maurice Sendak's, Where The Wild Things Are, about one hundred times to children before I read it from a writer's point of view.

Go and get your copy or borrow it from the library, and sit down and study it.

Have you heard that some people say that the wild things scare children? It's surprising because the worst thing the wild things do is make a lot of noise, gnash their terrible teeth, and roll their terrible eyes. The wild things aren't vicious or scary, in fact they're playful and fun! Max is King of the Wild Things so he's always in control. Possibly the chaos and the element of danger might appear scary, but don't children want what we want when we read a book- to dive into a world of imagination?

There's reassurance that Max returns to his safe bedroom, and even though he's been behaving wildly, he returns home where someone cares about him. And the best part of all, his supper waits... and it's still hot!

Looking at the illustrations, Sendak designed the book with each drawing growing in size with each page. The trees grow out of bed posts and his imagination takes him to a remote island where Max can be as wild as he likes. Sendak lured his reader with double page spreads, some requiring no text at all, with three double page spreads of 'Wild Rumpus!'

To me the best part of, Where the Wild Things Are, is how Sendak's words seem to roll off the tongue and hold their own rhythm. Max sails in his private boat through the night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are. The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes an showed their terrible claws.

All of these factors are important to the overall book and among the reasons for its great success. Most children's writing courses at some stage study, Sendak's, Where The Wild Things Are. It's no wonder really because it represents what all picture books can and should be.

The pictures and text work harmoniously together and Sendak's brilliant imagination still delights children all over the world today.


Karen Tyrrell said...

Hi Renee,
Wildthings is one of my favourite books to read to children. Just love the way kids react to this whimsical, magical story. Karen :))

Unknown said...

Hi Karen,
It's one of my favourites too as you can tell. The illustrations are magical on their own and Sendak included all of the elements of writing a picture book brilliantly! I wonder how he even came up with the idea?

I love how Sendak created anticipation by stopping sentences short and pausing on a page turn so that the reader could stop and appreciate the stunning illustrations.