Where the Wild Things Are
The story of Max, a rather naughty boy who throws a tantrum, gets sent to a timeout without supper, and decides to take a journey “to where the wild things are,” was first unpopular among critics, parents, teachers, and officials—in other words, every adult. Schools wanted it banned. But librarians began noticing that children kept checking it out over and over again. The three-dimensionality of the drawings helps, as Sendak is a master of texture. Fifty years later, people today still refer to Where the Wild Things Are as their “childhood,” because the mini-Odyssey of Max, who sets sail to a land full of giant monsters who, not too different from kids, are themselves capable of both goodness and inadvertent violence (sound like adults to you?), is not only a children’s story; it is a perfect symbol of growing up. Where the Wild Things Are put kids in charge of their own future. “Boys and girls may have to shield their parents from this book,” wrote the Cleveland Press at the time.