Monday, October 12, 2009

Review #46: Where the Wild Things Are

Dad:  "Where the Wild Things Are" is probably one of the 3 most famous children's books ever made.
Isaac (age 11):  What are the other two famous ones?
Dad:  I've always thought the three best known are probably "Where the Wild Things Are," "The Very Hungry Caterpillar," and "Goodnight Moon."  I would guess just about everyone, at least in this country, will have heard of those books even if they haven't read them.
Gracie (age 9):  What is "Goodnight Moon"?
Dad:  You don't know that one?  We have it.  There is a hole in your picture book knowledge!  Anyways... back to this book.  Do you know who made "Where the Wild Things Are"?
Gracie:  Nuh-uh.
Dad:  Maurice Sendak.
Gracie:  Who is she?
Dad:  A man.
Gracie:  Who is he?
Dad:  Uhhh... one of the most famous picture book makers ever.
Gracie:  Then why are we reviewing it if everybody already knows what this book is about?
Dad:  Well, people might like to know what you think about it.  I know what I think about this book.  And I've read what other grownups have had to say.  But I have no idea what you three guys think about it.
Lily (age 6):  I like it!  I like it!
Isaac:  Kids like this book.
Gracie:  Maybe there is someone who doesn't know about it, just like I didn't know about "Goodnight Moon."
Dad:  So tell us what happens.
Lily:  There's this boy that gets into a wolf suit.  Max.  And he says to his mom, "I'm going to gobble you up!"
Dad:  Did his mom think that was precious of him?
Lily:  No.  She said, "Go to your room without supper."
Gracie:  He's got a tall bed.
Isaac:  He does have a tall bed.
Lily:  And then his room turns into a wild place!  A forest.
Gracie:  His room becomes a world around him...  The world is in his room -- and it's really sweet.
Isaac:  Somehow this sailboat appeared, and he goes on this trip.  He went to an island and the wild things are there.
Lily:  They rolled their terrible eyes...  they showed their terrible claws...  they... did something... with there terrible teeth...  and they roared their terrible roars!  Mwoo haw haw!  Mwoo haw Haw HAW!
Isaac:  They were going to eat him, but he tamed them with a staring technique.
Gracie:  They make him their king.  And they have a wild rumpus.  And a monster runs into a tree.
Dad:  What else happens during the wild rumpus?
Isaac:  Crazy stuff.
Gracie:  Swinging.
Isaac:  Banging and jumping.
Gracie:  Having a parade.
Isaac:  Doing the conga.
Gracie:  After the wild rumpus stops, Max sends them to bed without supper.  But then he feels bad and wants to go home to his mommy.
Isaac:  He sailed away back to his room, and his supper was on the table.
Lily:  And it was still hot.
Dad:  Any votes on whether this all really happened to Max, or was he imagining?
Isaac:  It's really happening.
Gracie:  It's magical!
Lily:  No, it's his imagination.
Gracie:  It was not a dream.  How could it be?
Dad:  Look at this... what kind of moon is out when Max returns home?
Gracie:  Full moon.
Dad:  But what about when he left?
Gracie:  Not a full moon.
Dad:  So a lot of days went by.
Gracie:  Yeah, but his supper was still hot!
Dad:  Ahhh, so confusing.  So we don't really know.  There are clues that suggest it could be either way.
Gracie:  I think he went into a portal.
Dad:  Why do you think this book is so famous?
Gracie:  Because of the cool words.
Dad:  What did you think was cool about the writing?
Gracie:  It just sounded pretty.  Not pretty... it just sounded cool.
Dad:  I don't know if you guys looked at the words while I was reading.  But he doesn't use many periods.  All the sentences string together - they just keep going and going.  You guys would probably get in trouble in school for writing like that.
Lily:  I never make periods.
Dad:  Now if you forget to use periods, you can just say, "Maurice Sendak didn't always use periods!"
Gracie:  Hee hee!
Isaac:  We can get out of doing that extra work!
Dad:  What did we notice that happens to the borders around the pictures?
Isaac:  The pictures get bigger... and bigger... and bigger... until they touch the edge of the page.
Lily:  Then it gets over here onto the other page.
Gracie:  Max's world is getting bigger.
Lily:  And the leaves of the trees are poofing out of the picture.
Gracie:  When Max starts going towards the wild rumpus, the pictures get bigger and the borders shrink.  But when he goes away from the wild rumpus the borders get bigger and the pictures shrink.  So that's sneaky craftwork!
Dad:  I have two things I like most about this book.  I like how the borders around the pictures shrink and grow, and I like the design of the creatures.
Gracie:  I think Maurice Sendak had to be really creative to think of all those wild things.
Isaac:  I have a question...  He's half monster and half... duck?  Right?
Dad:  Who?
Isaac:  This dude.
Dad:  Ha ha ha...  He's whatever...  I don't know...  The monsters all look like bits and pieces of things.
Isaac:  Maybe he's half bear, half duck, half monster.  And his cousin twice removed is a dragon.
Lily:  That's a lion with horns.
Isaac:  Can I name all the monster guys?  This is Hairy....  Duckfeet....  Buffalo....  Parroty...  and Hornnose.
Dad:  What about that weird little goat man on the other page?
Isaac:  Joe.
Isaac:  What's wrong with "Joe"?
Gracie:  I get to name the sea serpent.  The sea serpent's name is Waterfull Nosetoot!
Lily:  I get to name this guy -- he's Bignose.
Gracie:  And this one's name is... "I-Walked-Into-A-Tree--Ouch"!
Lily:  There's a new guy!
Isaac:  No, that's Duckfeet.
Dad:  Isn't it weird that the monsters are all the same size except for that little goat guy?
Gracie:  I like Goat Dude.  He's awesome.  He's my favorite monster.
Lily:  Baaaa...  baaaaa...
Isaac:  They are cool monsters.
Lily:  My favorite thing about the book is the monsters.
Dad:  Would you like to meet those guys in real life?
Lily:  No way.  They would gobble me up!  Because I don't have Max's trick.
Dad:  You couldn't stare into the monsters' eyes?
Lily:  I would blink.
Dad:  Now in the book, Max's mother sends Max to bed without supper.  Later Max does the same thing to the monsters.  Why do you think that is?
Isaac:  Because he's the king.
Lily:  But it made him feel sad.
Dad:  Do you think moms and dads like having to discipline?
Isaac:  We can ask someone about this.  Dad, do you like disciplining us?
Dad:  It makes me sad when I have to do it.
Gracie:  Then don't do it anymore!
Dad:  But what would happen if we didn't ever discipline you?
Lily:  We would be selfish!  Mean!  Terrible!  A brat!  A monster!
Isaac:  I would be Duckfeet.
Lily:  I would be Bignose.
Gracie:  I would be "I-Walked-Into-A-Tree--Ouch."
Dad:  Max was pretty monstrous.
Gracie:  He made a mischief of one kind unto another.
Dad:  It's fine to be wild and silly from time to time.
Gracie:  Wild, yes.  Naughty, no.
Dad:  Wild at the right times.  Not all the time.
Lily:  If Max wasn't wild, the monsters were going to eat him.
Dad:  Does anyone want to say anything about the "Terrible Yellow Eyes" blog?
Isaac:  Oh!  Everyone should go there!
Gracie:  It's a blog where famous artists make their own versions of "Where the Wild Things Are" pictures.
Dad:  Including you three!
Isaac:  It has tons of art from different artists.
Dad:  It's kind of like what you guys have been doing for a whole year here at Bookie Woogie.  But you do a different book every week.
Gracie:  Oh my goodness!  They copied!
Dad:  Last thing... are you excited about seeing the movie?
Gracie:  Yes I am.
Dad:  How long did it take us to read the book?
Isaac:  Two minutes.
Dad:  How do you think they're going to make a movie out of a two minute picture book?
Isaac:  People have done it before.  The Iron Giant was a shorter book.
Gracie:  They'll just add stuff.  I'm excited to see "I-Walked-Into-A-Tree--Ouch."
Dad:  We'll have to see what the movie-people named the monsters.
Gracie:  What if they didn't name him "I-Walked-Into-A-Tree--Ouch"?
Isaac:  They're not going to name him that.
Gracie:  Oh no!

by Isaac

by Gracie

by Lily

Check out the site 5 Minutes For Books for our review of the "Where the Wild Things Are" movie!

Author/Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
Published, 1963: Harper & Row
visit: the Terrible Yellow Eyes blog
Like it?  Find it


pambelina said...

Maurice Sendak actually did name his monsters. The names were inspired by his aunts and uncles.

Thanks for reviewing this book! It's my husband's favorite and our little one is going to be Max for Halloween this year. Good work!

Shelley said...

Thanks for another great review. I never really noticed the frames. I love that now too, that it is a visual suggestion in addition to the pictures themselves.

My son (now 2.5) LOVES this one as I did when I was little. On his second birthday he asked if we could "go downstairs and have a wild rumpus!"

He looked at your pictures and liked all of them for different reasons. You all are so talented.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, we enjoyed the review, we will check out the yellow eyes blog too.

Carrie said...

"Where the Wild Things Are" is probably one of the 3 most famous children's books ever made."

...and I've never read it!!!

ElizT said...

Thank you, you wild things!

Heidi Noel said...

Movies made from books make me nervous because I love that my children enjoy reading and I dread them saying, "I will wait until the movie comes out." Also, I don't want it to ruin their mental pictures of stories. This one is obviously different because it was taken from a picture book. But I am still curious about your take on it.

(Oh, and to be clear we do watch movies adapted from books.)

Z-Kids said...

One good thing about movie adaptations, for me at least, is that sometimes they provide the necessary encouragement to read a book before the movie comes out. "Lord of the Rings" and "Inkheart" are both great books I wouldn't have read if not for my attempt to beat their impending movie releases!


Nina Crittenden said...

So fun! Have you all read Chicken Soup and Rice by Mr. Sendak yet? It is a real gem!

Unknown said...

great adaptation.Spike Jonze was directed this book and it was really funny. i like that book and now i am going to watch it in next week.


Om Mama said...

I just found your blog through your link at Brimful Curiosities and I must say I love what you're doing. What a great idea!!

What a wonderful interpretation of the story and the artwork by the children is very vivid and detailed.

Now I'm off to read more of your blog!

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

So many times I have read this book and never noticed the moon being different!!! Gives the story a whole new spin for me. :) Great observations and great review!

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

P.S. Your artwork is awesome too!

Karen said...

Wow, I LOVE Lily's picture! Great talk with the kids! You really notice the details!

Brimful Curiosities said...

Our public radio station played an archived interview today of Sendak talking about the monsters. He said they resembled his relatives. Thanks for stopping by Brimful Curiosities. Looking forward to reading your review of the movie.

Mama Ruck said...

First time visitor from Mommy's Favorite Children's Books. I am in awe of the wonderful conversation between parent and children about a book. I look forward to the next review. I am grateful you chose to showcase what happens when you respect a child's intelligence. Thank you!