The ‘wild things’ in the book “Where the Wild Things Are”, were supposed to be horses but Maurice Sendak did not know how to draw them!
Maurice Sendak set out to write a children’s book about a boy who finds escape through imagination.
In the story Max is punished for creating havoc in his home and is sent to bed without supper.
Maurice’s original idea was that Max escapes to a place in his imagination—a place with wild horses.
The title was going to be “Land of Wild Horses” but just before Sendak started working on the illustrations, he realized that he did not know how to draw a horse at all! Changes had to be made!
He replaced the horses with characters from his childhood. He used caricatures of his aunts and uncles, whose visits he dreaded as a child.
He saw them as ‘grotesque’ people with bulging red eyes and yellowed teeth who used to pinch his cheeks until they were red.
The title of the book was changed to “Where the Wild Things Are” and it consisted of just 338 words. It has a grounding moral story for children.
Mary Pols of Time magazine wrote: "What makes Sendak's book so compelling is its grounding effect: Max has a tantrum and in a flight of fancy visits his wild side, but he is pulled back by a belief in parental love; to a supper 'still hot,' balancing the seesaw of fear and comfort."