The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind,
his mother called him "wild thing" and Max said, "I'll eat you up!"
so he was sent to bed without eating anything.
That very night in Max's room, a forest grew, and grew,
and grew until his ceiling hung with vines
and the walls became the world all around.
And an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max
and he sailed off through night and day,
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
To where the wild things are.
--from Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak
I told a fib in my comments today. I didn't mean to, but it slipped out. At the time, it felt like the truth. Then later, I remembered.
There is a book I have two copies of other than the Bible. It is the wonderful children's book quoted above. The copy my parents bought for me is put away, wrapped carefully to preserve it, even though it is an old paperback copy that probably cost just a few dollars. The copy I bought for my daughter when she was still a baby is on the bookshelf in my youngest son's room.
This was my favorite book growing up. There are a handful of books I have from my childhood, but this is the most precious to me. It is the one book my father would read to me over and over again. If I wanted to hear about Swimmy or a little bunny, I would have to take the book to my mother. But if I wanted to hear about Max, and wolf suits, and sailing in and out of time, Daddy would oblige.
He read the book to me complete with voices: a naughty little boy voice and roaring, teeth gnashing wild thing voices. I always giggled hysterically, but truth be told, I was a little scared.
I couldn't wait to read it to my lovely daughter. I knew I'd have to wait until she was a certain age, although I had no idea what that age might be. I bided my time reading Pat the Bunny or The Poky Little Puppy.
One day, my little girl toddled out of her room with her copy of my favorite children's book in hand. We read it. Then we read it again. Then another time. It was our bedtime book that night and for many, many nights thereafter. I read it to her so many times that I can still quote most of it to you today, word for word. When nothing else would calm her in the car or the store, I would quietly recite that beginning passage. It worked every single time.
I quoted the passage above from memory. There might be a word or two wrong, but I doubt it. Even after all of this time, and two more children who also demanded multiple readings, I still love it. Someday, a day not very soon at all mind you, I bet that I'll have a child or two who will be buying that book for their baby's nursery.