I learned to read when I was four. Maybe five. But only if you count comic books. I refused to be taught how to read by my mother, regardless of her best attempts. My logic, which I still hold true to this day, is that I didn’t know how to read, so how could she teach me? (It’s the same reason I still can’t swim…but I can do a mean float, especially if I have those little blow-up arm thingies…)
For a while there, I could tell you what was in every panel of a Batman comic when the bad guys were getting hit. Pow! Bam! Wham! Because, honestly, what more did you need to read in a Batman comic?
But eventually, that wasn’t enough, and I learned to read real books. The first book I remember reading by myself was not by Maurice Sendak, though. I don’t even remember the title or author. All I remember was that I won it at a birthday party for some game, and I brought it home and decided that I was going to read it since it was mine. I underlined all the hard words with a pencil, and I read it, asking for help and looking up the words that I didn’t know. (You know, all the ones that hadn’t appeared in the Batman comics…)
That’s probably when it started, although even before then, I loved books. I remember going to the library, where we would go to the “secret room,” hidden in the bookshelves of the children’s department, where story time was held. (I even remember the time that my mother lost track of time and left me there while she was off reading a book in another part of the library, and she came back to a crying child who was absolutely sure she had been abandoned…ah, the days before cell phones!)
Anyway, what’s my point? My point is that once I learned to read, I didn’t stop. I loved reading. I still love reading. And Maurice Sendak was a part of that love. I loved Max. I loved the “wild rumpus.” And while I may not have read the book for a few years now, I still love it. And when my son is ready for it, he’ll love it, too…