Max has an active imagination, who will throw a fit if others don't go along with what he wants. Following an incident with his sister Claire and her friends, Max throws a tantrum when his mother pays more attention to her boyfriend than to him - runs away from home. Wearing his wolf costume at the time, Max not only runs away physically, but runs toward a world in his imagination. This world, an ocean away, is inhabited by large wild beasts, including Carol who has the same temperament as Max. Instead of eating Max like they normally would with creatures of his type, the wild things befriend Max after he proclaims himself a king who can magically solve all their problems.