27 April 2009

Stepping Into a Wild World

[The tribute to "Where the Wild Things Are" that was originally posted here was incorporated into an article for the Deseret News in response to the death of Maurice Sendak on 8 May 2012.  You can read it here.]


  1. i love where the wild things are, and i read it to my children almost daily. however, when max proclaims "let the wild rumpus start" i always say "let the wild rumpus begin". i'll never know why Sendak chose the former wording when the latter sounds so much better. how deliberate do you think he was with his syntax and do you think i should read it to my children as it's written on the page?

  2. Hmm...that's an interesting question. I'd honestly never thought about it. It's surprising to me that you feel strongly enough about it to change the way you read it. You're right that the phrase sounds more typical or professional, like a circus ringleader or something, with the word "begin." But maybe "start" is more appropriate because the whole reason Max is in this imaginary world is because he was being told by his mother to stop what he was doing. Hence, he can now start because he's somewhere where it's allowable.

    I think Sendak would want you to read it however you want. I remember reading about one mother telling him that she just couldn't get her daughter to enjoy the book because of the scary monsters, and he asked why she didn't just throw it out. Go with what works!