gnashing our terrible teeth at banned books

I remember reading Where the Wild Things Are when I was a kid. I don't know who gave me my copy, probably a relative, because we were poor, but I do remember the way that book made me feel. I knew exactly why Max needed to chase that dog around in his wolf suit, and why he would tell his mother that he'd eat her up. I envied him for being able to sail away from his problems to a land where he was in charge--and he wasn't even scared of the wild things! I wanted to hang in trees and howl at the moon...but eventually I wanted to be my mother's child again too. That book resonates with children because they understand it and see themselves as Max!

Iread that book to my nieces and nephews and I love reading it at the library with storytimes--I've never met someone who didn't enjoy, it felt apropos to wind down Banned Book Week 2012 with sharing quotes from this, one of my top 3 favorite picture book of all time.

Where the Wild Things Are was banned all over when it was first released, for reasons including: Max's tantrums being poor representation of how children should act, anti-authority (parents), the book's psychoanalytical interpretations, and my favorite: Bruno Bettelheim (in a March 1969 review in Ladies Home Journal) expressed concerns that the book might be psychologically damaging for the pre-school set because he thought that Max's mother withholding dinner as punishment might be traumatizing to young children.


“But the wild things cried, “Oh please don't go- We'll eat you up- we love you so!”

“And the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”

“And [he] sailed back over a year
and in and out of weeks
and through a day
and into the night of his very own room
where he found his supper waiting for him
and it was still hot” 
--Quotes all taken from Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are


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