Saturday, July 27, 2019

Five children’s books every adult should read

Katherine Rundell's books include Rooftoppers, Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms (a Boston Globe–Horn Book Award winner), The Wolf Wilder, The Explorer, and The Good Thieves. She grew up in Zimbabwe, Brussels, and London, and is currently a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. Rundell begins each day with a cartwheel and believes that reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling: it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless. In her spare time, she enjoys walking on tightropes and trespassing on the rooftops of Oxford colleges.

At the Guardian, Rundell tagged five children’s books every adult should read, including:
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

“But the wild things cried, ‘Oh please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!’

“And Max said, ‘No!’

“The wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws but Max stepped into his private boat and waved goodbye.”

There are as many interpretations of Where the Wild Things Are as there are people who have read it, and it means something very different when you are 30 from what it meant when you were three. I think it’s about the ferocity of love; about how we devour each other, and are devoured.

It’s also about, I think, the stark strangeness of the world. Max returns home to find his dinner “was still hot”. According to Sendak, his editors wanted him to cut or change that line, because it was impossible – or at least to edit it, to a more believable, “and it was still warm”. In an interview, he said: “‘Warm’ doesn’t burn your tongue. There is something dangerous in ‘hot’ … Hot is the trouble you can get into. But I won.” The world is, after all, rampantly strange. Children deserve books that are so too.
Read about another entry on the list.

Where the Wild Things Are is among five books that changed Dav Pilkey, Molly Schoemann-McCann's five favorite fictional creatures, Michael Rosen's six best books, Jessica Ahlberg's top ten family-themed picture books, Edward Carey's top ten writer/illustrators, Sara Maitland's top ten books of the forest, and Anthony Browne's six best books.

--Marshal Zeringue