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Where the Wild Things Are

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
#1
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is currently my favourite bedtime story for my boys (3 and 1). It is, in fact, one of my favourite stories, full stop. I love it on so many levels, and they love it for reasons of their own. I know some of you are parents and I wonder how many of you read, or have read, this to your little ones.

The thing is, there are three illustrated pages in the middle of the story – the wild rumpus – that have no words. I've always added my own...

"And they danced and they danced, and they howled at the moon."
"And they danced and they danced, and they swung from the trees."
"And they danced and they danced, and Max rode on their backs."


...they go down well with my audience(!).

Does this ring a bell for any of you? Have any of you added to the Wild Things?
 
#2
Yeah, mine enjoyed Wild Things. Also, the Night Kitchen. I think I 'added' to the pages by talking about the different monsters and what they were contemplating --- IIRC, the conclusion was that they were getting a bit ticked off with Max and were planning to eat him.
I love good kids books. So good to see them / help them discover old classics as well as to discover new kids' books oneself. Diana Wynne Jones was an author new to me who I discovered through my son. Disappointing, though, that some classics that I loved no longer do it for today's kids; the Wind in the Willows, I was heartbroken to discover, was of of little or no interest to them.:(
 
#3
favourite bedtime story for my boys
Su-u-u-ure. For your "boys", right? Uhuh. We get it.;):D:p

the Wind in the Willows, I was heartbroken to discover, was of of little or no interest to them.:(
Kids don't like Wind in the Willows anymore?:eek: How awful! I loved that book, and I had an audiobook of it, recorded by the great Kenneth Williams that scared the hell out of me as a kid! Mole's flight through the snow and finally tripping over the bootscraper!
 
#4
Why do we think their taste has changed? As a primary school teacher, I see children looking for an easy read. They avoid avoid complex language and go for simple story structures and vocabulary. I wonder if this is because of the computer age, they have less ability to concentrate on the written word. However, if I read the more complex story to them they love it. I have recently read Peter Pan to them. All the time I read it, I just couldn’t imagine how it captured my attention as a young reader but I remember enjoying it.
How do we get children to engage with stories than require them to create worlds and scenarios in their mind with spelling it out?
 
#5
Why do we think their taste has changed? As a primary school teacher, I see children looking for an easy read. They avoid avoid complex language and go for simple story structures and vocabulary. I wonder if this is because of the computer age, they have less ability to concentrate on the written word. However, if I read the more complex story to them they love it. I have recently read Peter Pan to them. All the time I read it, I just couldn’t imagine how it captured my attention as a young reader but I remember enjoying it.
How do we get children to engage with stories than require them to create worlds and scenarios in their mind with spelling it out?
I am not convinced that computers would be a factor. If anything, the proliferation of digital media has encouraged kids to read, not discouraged them.
It is more likely a language issue. WitW is quite dated now, and could also be seen, I suppose, as a little childish and silly. Crazy talking animals, no real background or world building, and a really weak plot. Its a fun enough romp, but I suspect, believe it or not, that modern readers of the appropriate age expect more from their entertainment than it can offer.
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
#6
Yeah, mine enjoyed Wild Things. Also, the Night Kitchen. ... Disappointing, though, that some classics that I loved no longer do it for today's kids; the Wind in the Willows, I was heartbroken to discover, was of of little or no interest to them.:(
I don't know the Night Kitchen. I'll have to check it out. And as for classics falling flat, I understand your heartbreak. I'm waiting with trepidation for when mine are old enough for The Hobbit!

How do we get children to engage with stories than require them to create worlds and scenarios in their mind with spelling it out?
I don't know the answer to this, but I know that with mine I try to saturate them with written words, try to make everything into a story. So far, it seems to be working. My three-year-old often asks for repeats of stories I thought would be too complex. Perhaps the answer is simply exposure? More books, more stories, more complexity = more engagement. Could it be that simple?

I am not convinced that computers would be a factor. If anything, the proliferation of digital media has encouraged kids to read, not discouraged them.
It is more likely a language issue. ...
Storytelling craft has certainly changed, so maybe this is a factor. So perhaps it does all come back to exposure. The more diverse a child's literary experience, the more likely they are to be fired up by something, right?
 
#7
My kids (6 and 7) loved the Wind in the Willows, but it helped that I took them to see a dramatisation in Kew Gardens first. The writing is so old fashioned, though - even I didn't know some of the words.

My favourite picture book from when my 2 were younger is Tadpole's Promise - deliciously black humour for nippers!
 
#8
My kids are just two weeks shy of 14 and 16, and I can still recite some of their favourite picture books. In fact, I can still recite two picture books that I read as a young child (Fish for Breakfast and Doctor Goat)--isn't that scary? My kids (and I) really liked Janell Cannon's books (Verdi, Crickwing, Pinduli). Though those aren't of the rhyming stick-in-your-head types. They were never really into the older books like Wind in the Willows. I do think it was the dated writing style--they grew up with a lot more showing, less telling than the older books. We still read every night as a family (YA and adult books, now)--we switch it round, and do classics and modern ones, even do plays (the kids enjoyed playing parts in Midsummer Night's Dream and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).

Regarding reading and the modern child? I've been teaching a group of year 4-6 students for several years now--the best writers in the class, who need some extra extension. They're happy to read fiction, but have zero tolerance for reading non-fiction--they want to do all their research by watching videos on YouTube.
 
#10
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak is currently my favourite bedtime story for my boys (3 and 1). It is, in fact, one of my favourite stories, full stop. I love it on so many levels, and they love it for reasons of their own. I know some of you are parents and I wonder how many of you read, or have read, this to your little ones.

The thing is, there are three illustrated pages in the middle of the story – the wild rumpus – that have no words. I've always added my own...

"And they danced and they danced, and they howled at the moon."
"And they danced and they danced, and they swung from the trees."
"And they danced and they danced, and Max rode on their backs."


...they go down well with my audience(!).

Does this ring a bell for any of you? Have any of you added to the Wild Things?
I can't say I've added any words but I love it too! It's one of my all time favourite picture books and my son aged 4 adores it too. I think that's one of the fabulous things about reading to children, re-discovering your own old favourites. :)
 

Rich.

Guardian
Staff member
#11
My favourite picture book from when my 2 were younger is Tadpole's Promise - deliciously black humour for nippers!
Excellent, another book to add to my my kids reading list. :)

We still read every night as a family...
Fantastic! I hope to be doing so too when my sprogs are the same age as yours!

I think that's one of the fabulous things about reading to children, re-discovering your own old favourites. :)
Isn't it just? :)