Book 20 - Where the Wild Things Are #100daysofbooks (verdict: reputation solid, but not a fan)


No. 20  and we come to the all conquering classic, Where the Wild Things Are. This is a picture book that has transcended its original form, even being made into a feature film in 2009. First published in the 60s, it won the Caldecott Medal and I don't remember a time when I wasn't aware of the story - a lecturer friend of mine even uses it as an example of narrative structure in creative writing courses. So I feel a great pressure to like it. But I don't. And I didn't, even as a kid.

I remember vividly not being able to identify with Max or the story - something about it was really unsatisfying to my kid brain. I know a lot of adults who don't like it think Max is a bit of a jerk and is rewarded for bad behaviour (i.e. Max is being kinda awful, is sent to his room, escapes into an imaginary fantasy where he bosses around the wild things, wants to be back where he's loved the most, then despite all the shenanigans, finds he has supper waiting when he gets home). I'm not so worried about that - I appreciate this is a story from a child's POV, without the adult moralising colouring the story (even if Max doesn't have any likable qualities for me). Academically, I like that and find it interesting, but only for analysis - you could make all the arguments you want about it, but I'll still feel the same way: as a story to read, it's still kinda meh for me, almost boring. Max has an imagination, boo hoo.  It doesn't touch my (cold?) heart at all.

That's okay. Given the huge popularity, no doubt it doesn't need my seal of approval, and not everyone likes everything (that would be highly suspicious). I do find with things that are massively loved, however, if you don't enjoy them it's awkward (ask me about Lord of the Rings). So I decided to be very honest. Sorry, WTWTA.

Master A's verdict: Wasn't interested in this one at all. Again, it's prose not poetry and the colours/contrast in the illustration style is muted, so unlikely to appeal to him.


  • Title: Where the Wild Things Are
  • Author/Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
  • Source: Borrowed from local library
  • Publisher: Red Fox

What's on tomorrow? Another library pick.