Study Guide

Where the Wild Things Are What's Up With the Ending?

By Maurice Sendak

What's Up With the Ending?

In the last picture, Max finally eases back the hood of his wolf suit and returns to being a boy. Not a wild, menacing, growling, emotionally out-of-control, "I'll-eat-you-up" wolf child, but a real little boy, with a need for love and belonging. And the best part is that his mother totally gets it. After sending him to bed without dinner, she relents and delivers his dinner to him while it's still hot.

According to Sendak, that word—"hot"—was a sticking point for his editors. They asked him to change it to "warm" so that it would be clear that Max wasn't going to burn himself when he ate the food. As you can probably guess, Sendak wasn't having any of that. In his words, the battle over the word "hot" was "a real world war," which he won by "just going at it. […] Just trying to convey how dopey 'warm' sounded. Unemotional. Undramatic. Everything about that book is 'hot.'" (Source) href="https:>

Clearly, Sendak won that argument. And we have to say, we think a hot dinner sounds way more appealing.