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Literacy Milestone: Appreciating Where the Wild Things Are

LiteracyMilestoneAWhen I was pregnant with my daughter, I started a wish list for her library on Amazon. One of the first books that I listed was Where the Wild Things Are by (of course) Maurice Sendak. One of my college friends kindly sent a copy to us, and I did read it to my daughter when she was an infant. But as she got older, well, she didn't care for it. Too scary, I think. I would try it periodically, then put it away again when she refused it. 

Finally last week I put it out with our breakfast books. She said: "OK, let's read that." I pointed out the shiny gold sticker on the cover, and remarked casually that this book had won a big award. I even added (though in retrospect I probably shouldn't have) that "some people believe this is the best picture book of all time." [I was thinking of the A Fuse #8 Production Top 100 Picture Books Poll from 2012, still a great list.] But then I said, "of course everyone has their own opinion."

Anyway, I started to read, and she was immediately captured by the story, reaching out syrup-sticky fingers to stroke the page. About 1/3 of the way in she requested that we finish the book on the couch. We don't really have time for that on school mornings, but it was Where the Wild Things Are! I said yes. Then we cuddled up, and immersed ourselves in the world of Max and the Wild Things. 

She still thinks that it's a bit scary, I think (hence the need to cuddle up). But for the first time, she appreciates it, too. She pronounced the monsters "cute". She pointed out details. She was happy at the end, when Max's supper was still hot. I was left quite satisfied myself, even though we did have to rush a bit to be ready for school on time. 

One of the lessons that book-loving parents have to learn is that their children may not love the books that they love. But sometimes, if you wait long enough, and you introduce the right book at the right time, you can still make magic. 

© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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