I can't remember the first time I read "Where the Wild Things Are", because it is a book that has been a part of my life as far as my memories go back. But I do remember the one copy held by my primary school library, and how on every library day, all I could think about was getting my hands on it before someone else did. Of course this didn't always come off in my favour, although I'm sure I was bratty enough to try every time, but when it did, Library Monday would easily become the best day of that whole week.
I remember knowing all the words by heart. Whenever it was selected to be read out on Playschool, I could recite it verbatim, and I would. I would half pray against, half wish for a Wild Thing to be living under my bed. I wanted to be Max's travelling companion, in my own wild animal pyjama suit, sailing that boat in and out of days. It would make me want to seek out my own adventure (as long as I could come home and still have hot supper waiting for me). I would learn that it was ok to think wild thoughts and to feel wild feelings.
But most importantly, 'Where the Wild Things Are' was the book that began the grand love affair with books that I am still engaged in today, one that I'm certain will continue for the rest of my life.
For all of this, I must thank the incredible Maurice Sendak. He will be sorely missed but always remembered by all the inner children of the world, including my own, who were affected by his rare, unique imagination.
“But the wild things cried, “Oh please don’t go - we’ll eat you up - we love you so!”
And Max said, “No!”
The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.”
Goodbye, beloved storyteller.