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4.7 out of 5 stars279
4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 23 January 2003
It's hard to believe that this wildly imaginative book is 36 years old - definitely worthy of the description "timeless". Sendak is a highly-esteemed painter in a surreal style, and has made many superbly illustrated books. It must be said that not all are actually very accessible by children, but this is his masterpiece! I read this to my daughter EVERY SINGLE NIGHT for six months, and never tired of it. There is only a line or two of text on each page, and every word counts. It reads like blank verse, and there are intriguing internal rhymes, beautifully apparent when read aloud .... " 'Now stop!' Max said, and sent the wild things off to bed without their supper." Also wonderful is the typographical joke at the end, where the story appears to finish when Max returns from his dream journey to find his supper waiting for him. You turn the page, and then on an otherwise blank page, "And it was still hot". Sendak had always insisted that his books are never published in reduced format, or bowdlerised in any way, so, even when you buy paperback editions, you get a quality product.I have worked as a children's librarian for nearly 30 years, and in my view this has never been bettered - recommended for absolutely any age of child. It's so subtly satisfying that I never tire of talking about it!
PS - Buy the video too - it's wonderful!
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on 1 March 2005
This is simply wonderful - one of the best children's books ever.
It is a beautiful book - the illustrations are amazing (it is easy spend ages discussing the content of a single page with your children) and the prose is simple and sparse, yet beautiful, succinct and evocative. The toy is good quality and durable, it is a useful when reading the book: my son has great fun deciding which wild thing the toy is.
I never tire of reading this book and my son (4) never seems to tire of hearing it. It is now one of his firm favourites.
A timeless classic; a book to be read and reread, enjoyed and treasured.
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on 13 December 2004
My memory of being a small child is a soup of images that are too distant to see clearly anymore.
Reading this book is like being pulled back to the clear reality of those days as I experienced them then.
I don't feel as if I've changed.
(I'm a bit taller).
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on 18 February 2004
When my "Max" was sent off or went off in a huff when younger, he would read this. In fact, "he's in his wolf suit" has come to be code in our family for "that child needs bed NOW" and "he's where the wild things are" means "do not approach", because, quite apart from being a fantastic (in every sense) story, this is about the best, funniest description of a tantrum I've read. Max's journey is JUST what kids do mentally (or threaten to do in reality), the monsters are part scary, part enjoyably cathartic, and ultimately you have to come back. The sneaky thing about making Max King of the Wild Things is that it puts him in charge of what's inside his own head (a responsibility I think most of us try to wriggle out of at some time or another...), and says he can come back any time he's ready. But don't ever say this when reading it, because it would spoil it and turn it into mere moralising. The spare elegance of the language and layout, the vivid life and detail of the pictures, are the main joy. And it's fun making up different names and voices for all the monsters and seeing how loud you can make your rumpus. (Usually very.)
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on 14 November 2001
At first this book seems like it could be scary for very young children, but in fact the opposite is true. Both my children have loved it, especially the 4 year old who acts out the story after we have read it! It appeals to both girls and boys and really sparks their imagination. I would highly recommend it to any parent, the only problem is that they want you to read it so many times that eventually you will read it from memory!!
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This is a classic children's book and it's easy to see why...

...This short story about a sulking boy who goes on a fantasy adventure via his wild imagination is told in an almost childish way, it feels like a stream of consciousness and although you might be reading it for the umpteenth time - it always comes across as fresh, as if you're making it all up as you go along. That's a pretty unique feature in a children's book and it makes the story a magical one.

What makes this an absolute classic which should be a staple of bedtime reading is the brilliant illustrations, again these look like the product of a child's imagination and they make the book equally accessible to younger children as older ones. Looking at the pictures it's clear to see where some of the inspiration for The Gruffalo came from, but there's no shame in that.

In a nutshell: Where The Wild Things are is a rare example of a book which can be enjoyed by parents as they read the story, and if those parents also happened to enjoy this book as a child, then they will feel a pang of excitement as the young Max becomes King of the Wild Things before eating his supper (while it is still hot).
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on 27 May 2001
This is a book which I read as a wee lad twenty years ago but still remember vividly. I came across it again at a friend's house recently and was reminded of its magical simplicity, so much so that I have bought it on-line and written a review.....
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on 15 June 2001
I BOUGHT THIS MANY YEARS AGO FOR MY TWO DAUGHTERS. THEY SO ENJOYED THE GNASHING TEETH AND ROLLING EYES ETC. THAT THEY NEVER FORGOT THIS EXCITING BOOK - IN FACT AT THE AGE OF 27 MY YOUNGEST DAUGHTER BOUGHT HERSELF A COPY AND MY ELDEST DAUGHTER HAS JUST BOUGHT A COPY FOR HER SONS (A 9 MONTH AND A 20 MONTH OLD). SO THIS BOOK STANDS THE TEST OF TIME. MY 20 MONTH OLD GRANDSON IS EQUALLY ENAMOURED OF THE ANTICS THAT THE "WILD THINGS" GET UP TO IN THE WONDERFUL ILLUSTRATIONS.
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VINE VOICEon 10 October 2006
I thought this book would be a bit scary for my sensitive 5yo daughter when she was given it as a birthday present. Concerned about nightmares I hid it for a bit. It was discovered soon enough and she insisted I read it to her.

She wasn't scared at all and thankfully no nightmares to report. She loves the story and loves pretending to be one of the wild things, nashing her terrible jaws and waving her fearsome claws.
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VINE VOICEon 26 September 2005
This is a book I have very vivid memories of from my own childhood and it is a pleasure now to read it to my own children. It's a great story where an unruly small child is sent to his room without his supper and in the confines of his bedroom goes to the land where the wild things live. The language is magnificent- for example, Max sails in and out of weeks and almost over a year - and the great pictures are just as I remember. They're timeless; they haven't dated at all. These beautiful illustrations are also unusual within our picture book collection, and the book itself is well-produced on good strong paper. You might think the theme and pictures of Wild Things would be a little scary for the smallest tots but this hasn't been the case at all. Both children loved it from around 2. Now, at not quite three, my son thinks Max's voyage is real; at four my daughter understands about the way imagination can transform a room into anything you want it to be. It's lovely that after having all the fun where the wild things are, and being in trouble at home they still want to go back to 'where someone loves them best'. And of course that Mum (or other someone) has left them their dinner in their room. A classic with good reason.
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