I remember when I was a kid, my mom said that she didn’t really get Calvin and Hobbes until she had a little boy. Really, Mom? Who doesn’t get Calvin and Hobbes? But, of course, I never knew a world that had Calvin but lacked my brother.
I understand what she meant, now. For my whole life, I’ve been mystified by the popularity of Where the Wild Things Are, and Maurice Sendak more generally. I thought his art was great (I loved his drawings from Little Bear), but his stories are all a little plotless. Even as a kid, I needed a good plot.
Silas, though, adores Where the Wild Things Are, and experiencing that book with him has made me fall in love with it. He likes to pretend to be a Wild Thing, or a King, and sometimes he says, “Let the wild rumpus start!” and dances around the room saying, “Rumpus rumpus rumpus rumpus!” He has the book pretty well memorized and will “read” it to Petra. The text is spare, and it speaks directly to his little toddler heart. He borrows lines from it constantly. He clearly identifies with Max–how could he not?–and wants a “wolf costume.”
The other day, he said, “I like our brown house because it is where someone loves me most of all.”