Monday, June 18, 2012

Let The Wild Rumpus Start

A great children's book has the ability to take a singular experience and create the universal.  Every kid can relate to Max and the havoc he created in his wolf suit.  Looking at Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak through its storytelling value we have the opportunity to spark conversation about anger, separation fear, time out, parental love, and bounce back from stress. 

Maurice Sendak won the Caldecott Medal in 1964 for this classic picture book.  He grew up when the depression, the Holocaust, and the kidnapping of the Lindbergh baby were world headlines in his Brooklyn neighborhood.  Mr. Sendak was controversial in his courage to reproduce the intense fears of childhood in story form.

Where the Wild Things Are is my all time favorite (I have many favorites but this one has been longstanding!) so I wanted to start here to book review and encourage a revival of reading time. My vision of A Storytelling Parent is an intentional parent who selects books to help their child with everyday problems and unusual life experiences.  A Storytelling Parent is both a comfort and a resource.

Be a Storytelling Parent:
Read or re-read the book to yourself first. Reflect on recent experiences with your child and their needs at this time as they relate to the story.  Review the conversation sparks and lessons in bounce back guides.  Be mindful in the present experience of reading and listening to your child
Find a quiet place to snuggle with your child and a copy of  Where the Wild Things Are. Read the book at a slow and steady pace so you and your child can take in the pictures and the mood of the story.  Pause before reading the last page: "and it was still hot."

Conversation Sparks
 Why did Max's mom send him to bed early?
How did Max feel when he was alone in his room?
How does Max use his imagination to calm himself down?
Do you think those monsters are scary?
Why isn't Max afraid?
Can you remember Max's trick to tame the wild things?
Why did Max send the wild things off to bed?
Does Max's mom love him even when he does bad things?  How do we know?
 Lessons in Bounce Back
How would Max feel if he used time out to focus on how hungry he was?
     How would the story change if Max used time out to think about how unfair it was that his  wild rumpus ended? Or how mean his mom was?
Story time is an opportunity of attachment first, learning second. Pick and choose your questions based on your child and their current need for help in these areas. Storytelling is interactive, and informative to both parent and child--You may be surprised at the answers you will get if you wait! 

Because life has many chapters, every child needs a storytelling parent.

 Please share a favorite insight from your Storytelling with your own wild thing!


  1. "Because life has many chapters, every child needs a storytelling parent." BEAUTIFUL!

    I can't wait to try these questions with my Max! Thank you so much.

    1. I wonder if Max has ever had a wild rumpus? I've never seen it! Happy Reading

  2. You want to hear something strange? I've never read this book all the way through. My mother never read it to me. I'll ask her about that sometime.

    Wonderful suggestions, Lisa!

    1. This was the first children's book that I memorized. When my niece and nephew were visiting (you know when they were little and unmarried) they would ask me to tuck them in and "read that story with your mouth."

  3. I wonder if your mom thought the illustrations were too scary?