When I bought "Where the Wild Things Are" for my 4-year-old son, I wasn't sure it would go down well: there is very little text (very stream-of-consciousness stylistically) so the story relies heavily on the illustrations and as they aren't the bold, bright colours that most kids' books nowadays are, I thought my son might not be taken in by the book. I couldn't have been more mistaken!
The hero of the story, Max, is sent to bed with no dinner as he has been up to mischief in his wolf-suit. However, Max's room magically transforms in to a forest and so he travels to the land of the monsters. The monsters are truly terrible- (but also quite funny-) looking, with their silly hair and mismatched bodyparts. When Max arrives they roar, grind their teeth and reveal their long sharp claws, but Max tells them to be quiet and so he becomes their king - the monsters are scared of the little boy! All together they dance a monster dance, but as he can smell the wonderful aroma of dinner from somewhere on the other side of the world, Max realises that he wants to be where he feels most loved. So he decides to travel back home, and even though the monsters threaten to gobble him up, he leaves. And as Max returns home, he has dinner waiting for him in his room.
There are quite a few things here that always make my son think (mummy sending Max to bed with no dinner, the scary first encounter with the monsters, for example) but as the story has an extremely warm and satisfying end, I don't think it's a bad thing at all. Where the Wild Things Are is one of my favorite books to read to my son, and he seems to find something new in the story every time we read it.