Michael Allen Jones/Sacramento Bee/Getty
Alison Schwartz
November 21, 2013 01:00 PM

You might say Where the Wild Things Are has the ultimate happy ending.

Fifty years since the late Maurice Sendak told the story of a boy named Max – precocious like your little brother, misunderstood and a wild thing in his own right – the picture book still speaks to children (and, yes, adults) today.

Here’s our SparkNotes version of the 1963 classic-turned-2009 Spike Jonze film: Max, notably dressed in a wolf costume, can’t stay out of trouble, so his mom sends him to his room (lame!). But then his room transforms into a mysterious, magical place, where terrifying beasts live (cool?). He wins them over though and becomes their king (yay!). But he knows he must go home (aww!).

Not only did Max’s charm disarm the monsters under the bed (or in his head – you decide), he also won over our hearts and made it back home by dinnertime. In honor of the anniversary of Where the Wild Things Are, here are five tributes to our favorite bedtime story ever.

Let the Wild Rumpus Start – with This 4-Year-Old Recitation

This kid is so cute, we could eat him up.

This Little Girl Will Also Melt Your Heart

The wild things may have roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws – but how not terrible is this child?

Even Barack Obama Has a Wild Side

The president put that bedtime story-worthy voice to use at the 2009 White House Easter Egg Roll. It is worth noting that no comparisons were made between the beasts and members of congress.

But Is Anything Better than These Kindergartners Dancing to Michael Jackson?

We volunteer to retroactively fail elementary school just so we can take Mr. Arturo Avina’s class at the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Olympic Primary Center. Mr. Avina’s students danced to Michael Jackson, Enya and Madonna to bring the story to life. We’d formally like to nominate this performance for a Tony.

Lastly, in the Words of Maurice Sendak Himself

Months before he passed away in May 2012 at 83 years old, Sendak sat down for a two-part interview with Stephen Colbert. Revisit his January 2012 appearance (the second part is below) on The Colbert Report, in which he reminded the world, “There’s something in this country that is so opposed to understanding the complexity of children.”

The Colbert Report
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