Last night, on the way home from work, I told Kelly that I wanted to read Where the Wild Things Are to the Little Man. He’ll be 3 next month and would certainly appreciate the book at this point. I’d never read it to him before, and in fact, I wasn’t certain we had a copy any longer. Turns out we didn’t but Kelly headed to Target after work for some groceries and they had not yet had a run on their copies so she picked one up. I told the Little Man that we were going to read a very special book, about a naughty little boy who finds some monsters for his friends.
“Bad monsters?” he asked.
“No, good monsters.”
“Okay,” he said. But it seemed to stick with him because he kept asking when we were going to read the book.
After he was cleaned up and in his pajamas and had his cup of milk, we climbed into his bed and I brought out the book. I read it to him as I read most books to him, using different voices for the characters and ad libbing a bit, to say nothing of stopping at each picture and asking him what he thinks is going on and why. The Little Man seemed fascinated, especially when Max’s room started growing trees. We read about Max becoming king and we read about the wild rumpus. “The monsters are dancing, daddy,” the Little Man said.
Finally, we came to the part where Max decided to go home and the monsters begged him to stay, promising to eat him up. I had trouble reading that part. The words became all blurry and my voice grew unsteady. I remembered reading the book when I was a kid (or perhaps, having my folks read the book to me) and how fascinated I was by it and I never imagined that I’d someday be reading the book to my own kids–on the very day that Maurice Sendak passed away.
I made it through. We finished the book and I don’t think the Little Man noticed me wiping the tears from my eyes.
“What did you think of the story?” I asked.
“Max, he was scared of the monsters.”
“Yes, but they became his friends.”
“And then he’s not scared,” the Little Man said.
“And then he’s not scared,” I agreed.
Thank you, Mr. Sendak. Rest in peace.