In the Night Kitchen

Common Sense Media says

Sendak's timeless nursery rhyme is a joyride.





What parents need to know

Positive messages
Not applicable
Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

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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Kids say

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.

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Maurice Sendak
Illustrator:Maurice Sendak
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:January 1, 1970
Number of pages:32
Publisher's recommended age(s):2 - 4

This review of In the Night Kitchen was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old September 20, 2009


Kinda Iffy when it showed Mickey naked. Honestly...
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

I remember reading it when I was a child

When I was a child this was on my list of most favorite titles. I can see how some people such as those who have never traveled out of the US would see this as containing inapropriate material. So Mikey is naked in this book...Big Deal!!! It is the way we were created. This book is clean and aprpriate for children of all ages.
Adult Written bySpiff April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
Kind of a weird book...


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