Today, I'm introducing the first of a series of posts here written by my daughter Hannah. She's going to pick one of her favourite picture books from when she was little and write about what she remembers and what she liked about it. This time she has chosen "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak...
WHEN WAS I READING THIS BOOK - I was reading Where The Wild Things Are when I was probably in First School or Junior School, although I still read it now, because I love being reminded of the simple, but brilliant, story. I think it is the sort of book that you could read to anyone at any age, because the story is so simple and the illustrations tell the story really well anyway.
THE REASON I LOVE THIS BOOK - I think I probably like this book, because I really like the interesting and simple, but detailed, illustrations and I really love the story and the way lots of the story is told with just pictures. I, also, just really love the design and layout of the book; the way the illustrations come centre stage in telling the story and the words are set out simply and plainly in the middle of the page. The interesting technique of the illustrations and layout, I find really inspiring and just love this book.
MY FAVOURITE PART... - My favourite part is where Max has become the King of all the Wild Things and starts a wild rumpus with them all, because here the illustrations take over from the words to tell the story. They are full double page pictures, which tell the story of what happened and all the things Max and the Wild Things did, which I think is a really creative way the portraying the story and plot. I think this is an amazingly clever device and that this part of the story is so fun, because we see Max and the Wild Things equal and having fun doing wild things.
LOVING THE ILLUSTRATIONS OR NOT - I absolutely do love the illustrations so much; the way the actual shapes of the characters and main things are really simple, but they are textured in a way that makes the pictures look really detailed. The fact the background is painted and is really smooth and goes from one colour into the next is really contrasting from the pictures of Max and the Wild Things. Even though the Wild Things are supposed the be portrayed as really scary, I think how they are drawn makes me think the Wild Things are actually soft at heart and would be nice friends, rather than the terrifying creatures they are supposed the be.
Another thing that I have only just realised is the illustrations begin only on one page of the double spread and quite small and gradually they fill up the whole of one page the then make their way across the fill the whole two pages, until they are full page illustrations. Then I realised it does the same in the opposite direction, so the images get smaller. I think this is such a fascinating technique, which I had never realised before, because it gives the idea of building up this fantasy world of the Wild Things and reaching the climax of the story in the wild rumpus and then settles back down when Max goes home. I think it is so brilliant, because as with a lot of things, like music, art and design, however simple the final outcome may seem and however much you think, “Oh, that can’t have taken long… That would be really easy”, actually it isn't that simple, because behind the simplicity is all the workings of someone thinking, “How could I show this… What does my final outcome want to say… What does this represent”, all the way along the process of creating something, which people just take for granted or don’t fully appreciate the work that was actually put in.
WHO READ ME THIS BOOK - I’m not sure if my mum read me and my brother this book or if I read it to myself, because I have read this story so many times that I can’t remember when I first read it. I do though remember feeling as though I was in the story with Max, because the illustrations really brought this story to life for me and I loved feeling like I was there and enjoying the adventure with the Wild Things in my wolf suit and sailing away in my private, red and yellow boat.