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When Child Faces Monsters- a book review

Updated on July 9, 2013
Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak  from
Where The Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak from

My Favorite Book As A Child

One of my most favorite illustrated books in my childhood was written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. The book is Where The Wild Things Are . When I was just 4 years old, my Mom got the latest and the greatest for my siblings and me. We were avid readers thanks to our Mom. I learned how to read when I was four. I loved this book so much, I never lost it and the original that Mom bought us is still in my possession today. The only thing that was damaged over the years was its paper cover. The cover was important to the book because it bore the Caldecott Gold Medal Award Sticker from 1964. I enjoyed reading and showing this book to my own children as well.

The story is about a little boy who has a very active life of imagination and he always dresses up in the wolf costume at night to fend off the monsters in his room. His name is Max, and he decides to take his imaginary play into the family area of the house thus disrupting it. His Mom gets upset and sends him to bed without supper. The little boy then goes deep into his imagination which involves his relationship with all the monsters he has planned to conquer.

The artistic talents of Mr. Sendak are excellent and the characters in the book became so real to me as a little child. I had to also rely on my own imagination to become a part of the story in my own mind. And I was able to understand Max and his struggle with real life as he communicated with the different creatures on that imaginery island.

The Book Becomes A Movie

In the beginning of 2010, at my place of work, where I provide companionship to a wheeled chaired young lady, I was presented a DVD by her Mom. I was surprised that It was "Where The Wild Things Are." Of course my interest in viewing this film with my client was real. I was fascinated that the casting of the little boy who plays Max was excellent: He looks exactly like Max in the book. I was even more impressed with the artistry of the costuming and headdresses of the monsters in the film. Exactly like Maurice Sendak's illustrations. Only this time they are real to lifesize.

The movie starts out nothing like the book. The portrayal of Max is a child who is always being picked on by other kids, and he also is a menace in his home, stealing from his sibling and not behaving well in front of his Mom. In the movie, Max's Mom is portrayed as someone who is always preoccupied with her life, and her career, spending more time with her significant other than with her own children. So based on the screenplay scenario, it looks pretty explainable that there are psychological reasons why Max acts out and goes into an imaginery world. In the picture book that I so have loved in childhood did not illustrate these other details that the movie provides.

The portrayal of Max as a "Conqueror" on the island of Wild Things and that he is considered "King", and all the Wild Things have to listen to him and do what he says. As I watched the movie version of my favorite child's book, I told myself, the screenplay author has portrayed Max as a little boy with what I learned in Psychiatric nurses training as schizophrenic personality traits. And the "Wild Things" were portrayed as other components of his life such as Fear, Anger, Depression and Frustration. Then there was the "Wild Thing" who provided the Mother's image. He actually learned to reason with himself and is finally convinced that he is to return back home.

In the end of the story, and in the end of the movie, Max comes home to his mother who has finally decided to give him something to eat. Max smiles, and finally is a calm little boy who doesn't need to tantrum anymore.

I still Love the story and the illustrations that Maurice Sendak produced in 1963. I think the movie producers embellished on the story for making the body of the story more up to date and realistic. All in all, I would recommend the original book to all Moms of little adventurous, imaginative children. And to leave the movie Version alone.

Who Is Maurice Sendak?

MAURICE SENDAK was born on June 10, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York. Born of immigrant Jewish parents who were Polish. Walt Disney production of Fantasia is what inspired him to be an illustrator. His list of works is too numerous to count. He even worked with the Children's Television Network to assist in the development of Sesame Street.

Where The Wild Things Are will continue to be on my Bookshelf when the Grandchildren are born.

(All info about the author from

Maurice Sendak, May you rest in peace

Today when the news on television started, one of the first features was that Maurice Sendak has passed away at the age of 83. He has died from complications of a stroke. Maurice was loved by many for his children's books, especially the book, Where The Wild Things Are. I remember his other books which my Mom loved as well. I will want to purchase his books even more now for when I can read to my future grandchildren. The stories and the artwork from his books are wonderful and his talent will definitely be missed.


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    • Sa`ge profile image

      Sa`ge 7 years ago from Barefoot Island

      Loved reading this, looks like you had a great time writing it. :D.. aloha