Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are

Last updated date: June 21, 2019

DWYM Score

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We looked at the top 1 Children's Books and dug through the reviews from 6 of the most popular review sites including Good Reads, Powell's, Thought Co., Kid's Book Review, Committee For Children, Fantasy Book Review and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Children's Book you should buy.

Overall Take

"Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak is an engaging tale about how children deal with big emotions. When Max is filled with anger over being sent to his room, his imagination creates a whole other world for him to explore. The story and dreamlike illustrations help children to use their imaginations when dealing with complex feelings. In our analysis of 75 expert reviews, the Maurice Sendak Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are placed 3rd when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 2, 2019:
Checkout The Best Children’s Book for a detailed review of all the top children's books.

Expert Summarized Score
6 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
2,785 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
- Good Reads
Each word has been carefully chosen.
- Powell's
This is a particularly appealing story because Max is in conflict with both his mother and his own anger. Max is an engaging character. His actions, from chasing the dog to talking back to his mother are realistic. His emotions are also realistic. It's quite common for children to get angry and fantasize about what they could do if they ruled the world and then calm down and consider the consequences.
- Thought Co.
This book, for me, epitomizes the pursuit of imagination. Your kids won’t forget this classic book, either.
- Kid's Book Review
June 22, 2009 | Full review
Using one's imagination to work through strong, angry feelings can be a satisfying way to calm down. Young readers of Where the Wild Things Are have a surprising role model in Max. Yes, he misbehaves, but his subsequent adventure lays bare his youthful wish to have some kind of control over his world. Here is the push-pull of childhood, when the desire to be powerful battles the longing to be where someone loves and cares for you best of all.
- Committee For Children
April 19, 2012 | Full review
The illustrations are dreamlike, the writing style simple, yet imaginative and delightfully atypical. It is a timeless classic; a book to be read and re-read every night of the week, a book to be enjoyed and cherished.
- Fantasy Book Review
What experts didn't like

From The Manufacturer

Where the Wild Things Are is one of those truly rare books that can be enjoyed equally by a child and a grown-up. If you disagree, then it's been too long since you've attended a wild rumpus. Max dons his wolf suit in pursuit of some mischief and gets sent to bed without supper. Fortuitously, a forest grows in his room, allowing his wild rampage to continue unimpaired. Sendak's color illustrations (perhaps his finest) are beautiful, and each turn of the page brings the discovery of a new wonder. The wild things--with their mismatched parts and giant eyes--manage somehow to be scary-looking without ever really being scary; at times they're downright hilarious. Sendak's defiantly run-on sentences--one of his trademarks--lend the perfect touch of stream of consciousness to the tale, which floats between the land of dreams and a child's imagination. This Sendak classic is more fun than you've ever had in a wolf suit, and it manages to reaffirm the notion that there's no place like home.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Shel Silverstein The Giving Tree
Overall Score: 10.0
Expert Reviews: 6
2. Robert Munsch Love You Forever
Overall Score: 9.9
Expert Reviews: 5
3. Maurice Sendak Where the Wild Things Are
Overall Score: 9.5
Expert Reviews: 6
4. Craig Smith The Wonky Donkey
Overall Score: 9.3
Expert Reviews: 6
5. Eric Carle The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 6
6. Emily Winfield Martin The Wonderful Things You Will Be
Overall Score: 9.2
Expert Reviews: 9
7. Adam Rubin Dragons Love Tacos
Overall Score: 9.1
Expert Reviews: 9
8. Giles Andreae Giraffes Can’t Dance
Overall Score: 9.0
Expert Reviews: 9
10. Marcus Pfister The Rainbow Fish
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 8

An Overview On Children's Books

  • The most important element in choosing the perfect children’s book is the story. What is the book about and how does it relate to your child and your family? “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is about the unconditional and timeless love between a parent and child, so it’s a very relatable story that many families are familiar with. On the other hand, “The Wonky Donkey” by Craig Smith is about a donkey with three legs and the adventures he has. “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein is about a little boy and his relationship to a tree throughout the course of his life. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak is a classic about a little boy named Max who wreaks havoc at home while dressed in his wolf costume. He is so naughty that he gets sent to bed without dinner, only to discover that his room has transformed into a mysterious jungle, where he meets some wild things.
  • For some parents, it’s important for children’s books to have important life lessons that they can teach their kids. Reinforcing lessons through books helps children to remember them and embody them. The lesson in Robert Munsch’s “Love You Forever” is about the importance of family. No matter where you go in life or what happens to you, your family will always be there to love you. In “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, the lesson is somewhat ambiguous. It’s not clear whether the book is about unconditional and selfless giving, as it can also be seen as a story about a boy who doesn’t learn his lesson. “The Wonky Donkey” by Craig Smith finds the humor in all things, while “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak teaches kids how to use their imaginations when they are feeling big emotions.
  • It’s no secret that a child’s attention span isn’t very long. Some children can sit for books that take ten or more minutes to read, while others want to read books that only take a minute or two. “The Wonky Donkey” by Craig Smith is a quick and enjoyable read, while Robert Munsch’s “Love You Forever” and Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” are a little longer. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak has under 350 words, but it can take a while thanks to the fanciful illustrations.
  • Consider the format you want to buy your book in. There are many more options than just paperback books these days. Depending on the ages of your kids and the way you like to read, you may choose a different option for format. “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is available as an ebook, hardcover, paperback, audio CD and board book. On the other hand, “The Wonky Donkey” by Craig Smith is only available as an ebook and paperback. Similarly, Shel Silverstein’s”The Giving Tree” is only available as an ebook and hardcover. “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak can be bought as a hardcover, paperback, multimedia CD and audio CD.
  • Kids can be rough with their books, so price may be a purchasing factor, especially if you have to replace books often. “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch is available for under $10 in hardcover, while Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” can be found for under $12 in the same format. Paperback versions of “The Wonky Donkey” by Craig Smith are available for under $5 while “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak is available for under $8.

DYWM Fun Fact

Children’s books have been around for several centuries, well before the printing press was invented in the 1400s. In fact, some of the first children’s stories that used both words and illustrations, and were created to be enjoyed by young readers, are Japanese illustrated scrolls that were said to be made in the 12th and 13th centuries.

However, the tradition of storytelling itself dates much further back all across the world. Even though those stories were not written down or illustrated, parents have known the powerful effect stories have on children. Irish folk tales can be traced back as far as 400 BCE, while the tradition of oral storytelling for children reached its peak in Imperial China in 900 AD.

The Children's Book Buying Guide

Reading to young children is an activity many parents and caregivers love to do. For many families, reading is part of the daily routine. Many caregivers enjoy reading to kids before naptime and bedtime to help them relax and settle down. However, reading can be done at any time of day! It’s a perfect activity for sitting down during playtime or even while at the park or playground. Not only is it useful for bonding with your child, reading has many developmental benefits too.

Did you know that reading to children promotes brain development, social skills and verbal communication skills? Reading helps children to learn new sounds and understand new words within context. Books that are repetitive or have a rhyme or rhythm are particularly beneficial for helping children improve their verbal communication skills. By hearing certain sounds over and over again, children learn to mimic those sounds and words. The tempo of a book can help a child to memorize the lines and repeat them during the story and during playtime.

Books also help to stimulate a child’s imagination and grow their curiosity about the world around them. Stories help children to understand the difference between real and make-believe. Playing pretend is an integral part of growing up, and books help to encourage imaginative play activities. Children often impersonate the stories they learn through reading in their playtime activities. If you read a book about a dog running through the park, you may find that your child pretends she is that dog running through the park herself during her next playtime!

Books also help children understand transformative events, such as the birth of a new sibling or the death of a loved one. Books can help children learn the importance of developmental milestones, such as potty training or drinking from a sippy cup. They can teach children about important life lessons, such as how to share with others or how to take turns with friends. Stories also help children to verbalize complex emotions such as love, anger, sadness and confusion.

It’s never too early or too late to start reading with your child. While there are many developmental benefits to reading, nothing beats snuggling with your little one and reading a story you both love.