Every week for the next ten weeks I’m going to blog about one of my top ten favourite therapeutic children’s books. In at number 10 is “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak.
Here are some interesting facts about Maurice Sendak and “Where The Wild Things Are.”
1. Sendak was born in 1928 in New York to Polish Jewish immigrants. He started off illustrating other people’s books before he wrote and illustrated his own books.
2. The story of “Where The Wild Things Are” centres around a little boy called Max. He is sent to bed without any supper for causing mischief and chaos around the house. He gets transported to the land of the Wild Things. Max is bestowed the honour of King of the Wild Things. He enjoys lots of adventures but soon he misses home and feels lonely without his family. He returns to his bedroom and there waiting for him is a hot supper.
3. The book was meant to be called “The Land of the Wild Horse” but Sendak realised he couldn’t draw horses and changed it to the more ambiguous Wild Things.
4. The book was first published in 1963 but since then there has been many adaptions.
• An animated short in 1974
• An Opera in 1983
• A Hollywood movie in 2009
5. The story has only 338 words. According to Francis Spufford it is “one of very few picture books to make an entirely deliberate and beautiful use of psychoanalytical story of rage.”
6. Apparently, Sendak based the illustrations of the Wild Things on elderly relatives from his childhood.
7. “Where the Wild Things are” was not well received initially. Many parents, teachers and psychologists believe that it was glorifying anger. Slowly it grew in popularity and has since reached high acclaim. It is the recipient of many prestigious awards.
8. Despite its popularity Sendak refused to write a sequel.
9. Sendak has stated that his three books Where the Wild Things are, In the night kitchen and Outside over there are a trilogy centred on children’s growth, survival, transformation and anger.
10. President Obama is a big fan of the book. He read it aloud at the White House annual East egg roll in 2016.