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What Is There To See In “Where The Wild Things Are”?





Although Where The Wild Things Are may seem frightening at first, essentially, this is a reassuring story of a little child who masters his own demons and who, at the end, is assured of his mother’s love. The story is about the little boy who is naughty, enters his world of fantasy, and comes out of it safely.

The remarkable art and design lies in the fact that as the book begins, the text and illustrations have their own separate pages as in any conventional book. After Max is sent to his room, and the room becomes transformed into a forest filled with Max’s inner demons whom he masters (they don’t master him), the margins get smaller and smaller.

Finally, in the middle, there are no margins; the whole book is only the world of Max. As Max begins to come out of his trance, the margins reappear, and at the end your child knows he is safely returned to the everyday world.

This book shows how a great artist can transform our whole world into one of magic. For the sake of the child, the threat disappears at the end, and he knows that he is safely back in your lap again.


Peter Neumeyer is a professor of English at San Diego State University and highly recognized in the field of children’s literature. He is the author, editor, or translator of 10 books and over 100 articles. His articles and reviews appear regularly in Mother and Parents’ Choice. In 1994, he published The Annotated Charlotte’s Web, and he is currently assembling his second collection of poetry.

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