In the Night Kitchen
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this story raised a minor furor when it was published 30 years ago because it showed a little boy's penis (hardly graphic, just a loop of a line) -- which served only to draw attention to this marvelous picture book. Sendak's artwork is boldly expressive and adds to the story's momentum. The unpredictability of the language will challenge older kids.
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I remember reading it when I was a child
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What's the Story?
Maurice Sendak takes children for a joyride in this timeless nursery rhyme featuring Mickey, who tumbles from bed into the baker's night kitchen. Mickey's exploration of the strange night world is so vividly drawn readers almost live the dream, before returning safely to bed.
Is It Any Good?
Like a memorable nursery rhyme, Sendak's story can be a quick and easy experience, but probably even young readers will be drawn to ponder its suggestiveness. Mickey's experience comes full circle -- bed to kitchen to bed -- which gives the verse a sense of completion, though the text has some curious turnings: "Then Mickey in dough was just on his way."
Some of the book's artwork is set in multiple panels to a page, a handsome screen of images that feels like a dance sequence, following Mickey's actions as set against a panorama of the city at night, a city of saltcellar, milk carton, and egg-beater architecture.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Mickey's nighttime journey. What lures him into the kitchen in the first place? What makes him want to keep exploring the strange nighttime landscape?
- Author: Maurice Sendak
- Illustrator: Maurice Sendak
- Genre: Fantasy
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: January 1, 1970
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 2 - 4
- Number of pages: 32
- Last updated: July 12, 2017
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