Through a Child’s Eye
(A Book Review of Maurice Sendak’s Where The Wild Things Are)
I’m glad that I recently scored a vintage 1963 edition (picture above) of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are in Booksale during one of the mini Meet Ups with my Goodreads-The Filipino Group friends. I breeze through the book in a matter of minutes while waiting for them, and right there and then something just hit me. Without a doubt, it certainly earns its place as a classic storybook of Children’s Literature.
Where the Wild Things Are tells the story of the rascal Max, who dresses up in his wolf suit and causes trouble enough to make his mother order him to go to bed without supper at all. As the title alludes, the picture book shows a child’s unbound and limitless wild rumpus of an imagination exhibited when Max reaches deeper within his imagining and sees his room transformed into a forest inhabited by the Wild Things — roaring and gnashing monsters with yellow eyes, sharp teeth and horns — where he, by a mere stare, can tame and be the king of them all.
I think what endears every child who reads Sendak’s picture book is that most of them can identify with Max’s feeling of resentment, that though he had had his share of fun out of it, he eventually grows weary and lonely, permitting him later on to go back to the place where he most wants to be and appreciate the most important thing he left behind: the need to feel loved.
At home, after a tiring yet fun-filled day with friends and before hitting the sack, I’m still at it, staring mesmerized by Sendak’s impressive work of art with its muted colors and cross-hatchings, that looks like sketches, add further magic, energy and excitement to every kid who reads it they would love to be in the shoes of Max, playing with the Wild Things on their “wild rumpus” where they can howl at the moon and swing from tree to tree in bold celebration of all the wildness they possess.
I rue the fact that I stumbled upon this picture book well into my manhood, but it definitely touched something in me — the book has this uncanny ability to enchant itself to the nostalgic memory of childhood, rekindling its innermost emotions. It’s as if I’m seeing the world again through a child’s eye.
Nevertheless, this is a book worth keeping — for every reading always brings a new perspective, a nuanced view of the book’s message — which I will one day read to my future children and let them discover for themselves a world of their own creation; a world where the wild things are, where only they has the power to tame.