In brief: Slightly unruly Max, sent to bed without his dinner for annoying his mom, goes on a fantastic voyage to the land of the Wild Things, where he becomes king. After a terrific party, Max sails home to find all is forgiven.
Childhood impressions: We have all been Max, punished and left sulking, mulling revenge, only to find (thank goodness) that parental love is a pretty marvelous thing. Oh, and those Wild Things — we recognize them, too, from here and there, around and about (a clever rendering of human types).
Classic qualities: Awarded the Caldecott Medal in 1964, this vibrant and original story has sold more than 19 million copies worldwide. Sendak uses only 338 words, and each one resounds in the highly detailed, not-really-scary illustrations. With this book, Sendak paved a new path in storytelling.