Dressed in a wolf suit, Max gets up to mischief and is sent to bed without any supper. In his imagination or dreams his bedroom becomes a forest. He finds himself on a journey to the land of the Wild Things. After a strange adventure Max realises he is lonely and wants to be ‘where someone loves him best of all’. This is an award winning picture book which taps into children’s sense of mischief, magic, adventure and ultimately, need for the security of a safe and loving home.
Share the Story
As you read the story aloud pause occasionally to allow children time to talk about the pictures and think about what might happen next.
When you read the book again encourage children to join in with the parts they remember – they might like to read the words in capital letters eg ‘WILD THING!’ And ‘WE’LL EAT YOU UP!’ Encourage them to roar ‘terrible roars’, roll their ‘terrible teeth’ and show ‘terrible claws’ as if they are ‘wild things’ too.
Talk about the story
Children may have thoughts and questions about the story they want to share with you. Allow time to discuss them.
You could ask children how they think Max felt when he was sent to bed without any supper or if they think the wild things are scary. It doesn’t matter that there isn’t a ‘right’ answer to questions like these. Talking about their ideas and feelings will help children deepen their responses and develop their understanding of the story.
Tell the story
Encourage children to tell the story in their own words as you show the pictures. Listen to the way they tell it, they may begin to use some of the words or phrases from the story in their own re tellings
Watch the story
From Euan Kilpatrick
Where the Wild Things Are read by President Barack Obama
Things to make and do
Make a map
Using a large sheet of paper pens and pencils children could draw an imaginary map of Max’s journey to the land of the wild things. Encourage children to talk to you about their map and show you Max’s route.
Fill a baby bath, tub or paddling pool with water. Place a small figure to represent Max in a toy boat so he can go on a journey to the land of the wild things.
If you don’t have a boat you could make one from a plastic container, with a stick for a mast and paper or fabric sails. Don’t forget to put Max’s name on the boat – or perhaps your child’s own name!
Make a crown
Using card make a crown for your child to wear to be Max king of the wild things. Children could gather toys together to be the wild things and act out the story.
Have a wild rumpus!
Play some favourite party music and dance together just like Max and the wild things.
Write a postcard
Give children a postcard shaped piece of card or download this postcard template and suggest they pretend they are Max writing a postcard home to tell his Mum what he has been doing in the land of the wild things.
Find out more
Read another story by Maurice Sendak
In the Night Kitchen