Story time is the best time of the day. Whether we're snuggled up on the couch or cozy in our pjs before bed, reading stories with my little ones is one of my favorite things to do. Everyone has a favorite book they remember from their childhood, and every day, parents and kids are discovering new classics of their own. There are many fabulous children's books out there, some of which everyone knows about and others we would have never discovered had my son not simply pulled a random book off a library shelf. I created this blog to share some of these wonderful stories with you. Think of it as a year's worth of the best children's books around, since no day should be without a great story. In the end, I hope we'll all have discovered at least a few new titles that will have made their way onto our list of family favorites. Enjoy!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 100: Where the Wild Things Are

Our 100th book!  Hooray!  It feels like quite a milestone, even though we have many more great books to read and share before having a whole year's worth.  For our 100th book, I wanted to feature one of our all-time favorites and a must-have in any child's collection:  Where the Wild Things Are.  I doubt there are many people out there who have not heard of this book, and there are many reasons why it has been a classic since its publication in 1963.  Maurice Sendak's story about the fiercely independent and mischievous Max is a fabulous tribute to imagination, adventure, and love.  If you are unfamiliar with the story, young Max gets sent to his room without any supper one night, only to have his imagination take him on a wonderful journey to a faraway land.  "That very night in Max's room a forest grew and grew -- and grew until his ceiling hung with vines and the walls became the world all around and an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max and he sailed off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are."  Max soon becomes their king, proclaiming what has become perhaps the book's most famous line, "Let the wild rumpus start!"  He and his fellow wild things romp and roar and play and dance the nights away, but soon Max finds himself longing for the comforts of home.  I never get tired of reading this book with my little wild thing and love everything about it.  The illustrations are beautiful, the story is a joy to read, and I like that the wild things don't look too scary (despite roaring their terrible roars and gnashing their terrible teeth.)  In fact, I find they usually look rather silly and impish rather than fierce and frightening.  Some of our favorite pages are the three in the middle without any words, and my son loves to say, "What does that wild thing say?  What does that wild thing say?" as he points to the different beasts and we make up more of the story in the middle.  I can't help but smile when we read the line about Max being lonely and wanting to be "where someone loved him best of all" and my little monster says, "That's his Mum Mum."  As Max sails back over a year and in and out of weeks and through a day, he arrives back at his room to find his dinner waiting for him... "and it was still hot."  Where the Wild Things Are captures everything that is fun and wonderful and challenging about childhood for both parents and children.  The feelings and emotions Max experiences throughout the book are universal for children -- who hasn't, at one time or another, wanted to escape from household rules and be king for a day? -- and Sendak portrays this desire for independence wonderfully.  Most of all, I love the message that no matter how much trouble our wild things might get into, as parents, we will always love them.  If you haven't shared this classic with your own wild thing, please do!  This is one book that no child or parent should go without. 


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