My Itinerary ({: itinerary.length :})

{: event.badge :}

{: event.title :}

{: event.dates :} {: event.dateDescription :}
{: item :}
Suitable for {: item :}
1001 Stories Collection

Where the Wild Things Are

1001 Where The Wild Things Are
Added on 08th July 2020

Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak
First published 1963
Publisher Harper and Row, New York, USA

Action and adventure Family
1001

A classic picture book about a mischievous boy and a wild adventure

Story

When mischievous Max puts on his wolf costume, he wreaks havoc through his household and is sent to bed without any supper. That night, a huge forest grows in Max’s room, and a vast ocean sweeps him away on a private boat to where the wild things are…

Why we chose it

A classic picture book – a wild adventure with an enigmatic ending. Author Katharine Rundell was photographed as a Wild Thing for our 2014 26 Characters exhibition, saying that the book seemed to her the closest to what it is really like to be a child.

Where it came from

American author and illustrator, Maurice Sendak (1928 - 2012) grew up in a Polish-Jewish family in Brooklyn. His childhood was shaped by the deaths of most of his extended family in the Holocaust. He was often ill as a child and spent much of his time reading and drawing, getting a part time job creating comics whilst still at school. He worked as a window dresser while studying art and illustrated books for other authors before writing his own. He wanted his books to reflect real life. He originally planned to write a story about a naughty child who escapes to “the land of wild horses”. However, he soon realized he couldn’t draw horses. Inspired by the Yiddish phrase “Vilde Chaya”, used to describe naughty children, Sendak replaced the horses with wild “things”. He used caricatures of his aunts and uncles as inspiration for the monsters.

Where it went next

At first, critics thought the book was too scary for children, however in 1964 it won the prestigious Caldecott Medal, and has been popular ever since. It has sold over 20 million copies since its publication. It revolutionized picture book publishing. The book has been adapted numerous times for TV, and a live-action feature film was released in 2009. There is also a successful children’s opera based on the book.

Associated Stories

During his life, Sendak wrote and/or illustrated nearly 100 books. Other popular titles include In the Night Kitchen (1970) and Outside Over There (1981).

In the museum

Find the photograph of Katherine Rundell as a Wild Thing from our 26 Characters exhibition.

Added on 08th July 2020

Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak
First published 1963
Publisher Harper and Row, New York, USA

Action and adventure Family
1001