Storybook Heroes No 1: The Wild Things
NAME The Wild Things
DEFINING MOMENT “When Max came to the place where the wild things are they roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”
WHY WE LOVE THE WILD THINGS
- The book caused quite a furore when it was first published, its ‘scary’ content deemed unsuitable for its intended young audience. But we’re all for trailblazing groundbreaking books. And of course it is now widely acknowledged as one of the greatest children’s books of the 20th Century.
- The cartoony monsters are a tad more Sesame Street than super-scary – especially for today’s young readers. And do we sense echoes of the Wild Things in The Gruffalo, with its “terrible” repetition? Let’s call it an ‘homage.’
- There’s gritty vraisemblance in the stompy pouty tantrum of Max – doing his best to look mean and moody, while wearing an all-in-one bodysuit with little ears, that has spawned a generation of cute baby outfits. In the movie version of Where The Wild Things Are, Max was portrayed as highly-strung with emotional issues: we prefer to think of him as Every Child!
READ MORE: Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is published by Bodley Head.