I have read Where the Wild Things Are to my four-year-old son, Jackson, at least five hundred times.
When we come to the end of the story, he always flips the pages back to the beginning and says -- thoroughly disappointed,
“Max said he was going to eat his mama up, but he never did!”
It is true, Max does not eat his mother up.
But, luckily for Jackson (and others like him), there are plenty of picture books where main characters get munched. Below are a few:
PS. For parents and other grown-ups in search of a truly terrifying and gruesome book, try Bird Box by Josh Malerman. It's especially frightening when read on a dark windy night after all your children have gone to bed.
by Emily Gravett
A personal favorite, this clever (and wonderfully illustrated) book tells the story of a rabbit who borrows a book from the library and a big bad wolf. There is an alternative ending for more sensitive readers, but I recommend sticking with the original.
by Bénédicte Guettier
This silly board book about a wolf getting dressed (in everything from heart covered boxer briefs to a black coat) is a toddler crowd-pleaser (and the ending always induces squealing and screaming at our house).
by Aaron Reynolds
If you’re looking for a fantastical way to introduce children to the meaning of “vegetarianism” and “carnivorism” this book is for you. An especially good choice for slightly older kiddos who are tired of happy, harmless endings and want a picture book that doesn't sugarcoat.
By Jon Klassen
A family favorite, this book is destined to become a classic. Little kiddos (and their grown-ups) will delight in the simple illustrations, repetitive storyline, and delicious ending.
by Nadia Shireen
Good wolves and little old ladies beware! Try as you might, sometimes you just can’t take the “big and bad” out of a wolf. Reviewers on Amazon have called the ending “awful" -- and it truly is (but in a humerous way). My boys absolutely love this book (Jackson and his 11-year-old brother).