All Time Fave: Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. HarperCollins, 1963.

Illustrations and text work together to move the story forward. In the first spread Max faces the farthest edge, urging the reader to turn the page quickly as the text hints at all the mischief he’s carrying out. The next spread shows him running down the stairs, the very stairs that will, on the next page, take him right back up and into his bedroom for bed without supper. As Max slips into his magical world of Wild Things, the illustrations overtake the page, first relegating the text to the bottom, then driving it from the page altogether. The process reverses as Max slowly chooses to return to the safety and confines of his own room, to order, to language, and to his supper, which is waiting for him and is still hot.

I love the empowerment of this story, how Max exercises control over his own world, but ultimately returns. And unlike the rather creepy ballet version and the gawd-awful film version, this one is tender.