pen rainbow

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Monday—The Reading Corner

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.

Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Wild Things...we all know who they are.  They're the kids in class who don't quite fit in, the ones who wail in the corridor when they're having a bad day.  The ones who would rather play in the mud than go inside for circle time.

They gnash their teeth, clench their jaws, and spit at the computer screen when it doesn't do what it's supposed to do.  They cause a wild rumpus, and they run in packs.  The Wild Things find one another because they do not fit in with the successful, well-behaved children.

They spend a lot of time mouthing apologies in the principal's office.  They go off-script at assemblies.  They wear their favorite jackets on hot days.  Other parents secretly hope that their children won't swing with the Wild Things, especially as the children grow older.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE by Maurice Sendak was written for these kids.  And, it was written for the parents of Wild Things who struggle to raise their little beasts in a disciplinarian world that, when it comes down to it, prefers to send children to bed without supper when they won't behave.

The story ends with the little boy, Max, returning home to his room after becoming the king of the Wild Things, and his dinner is waiting—and it is still hot.  Max is allowed to be who he truly is—the king of the Wild Things—and he returns home safe and sound where there is a hot meal waiting for him.  Nurturing in every way, this insightful little book provides great comfort not only for headstrong, unruly kids who misbehave, but for their exasperated parents, as well.

For the parents of the Wild Things, there is an underlying sense of acceptance and letting go.  Choose your battles and stick to the basics—love, nurture, and do your best.  And, to the Wild Things, the message of this book is clear—Be yourself.

Maurice Sendak died on Sunday at the age of 83 after a prolific, 61-year career as a children's book author, illustrator, set designer, costume designer, and opera aficiando.

I highly recommend listening to this gentle and illuminating, 20-minute NPR interview with him from last September when his last children's book was being published.  The book, entitled BUMBLE-ARDY, is about a little pig who throws a rowdy birthday party for himself while his aunt is at work...

An interview with Maurice Sendak

Mayhem ensues.  When his aunt returns, she throws everyone out and says,
"Okay, smarty.  You've had your party, but never again!"

Bumble-ardy says in tears, "I promise,  I swear... I won't ever turn ten."

Ahhgh...The poignant plea made by every Wild Thing who's ever been caught.