In the Night Kitchen

Book review by
Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media
In the Night Kitchen Book Poster Image
Sendak's timeless nursery rhyme is a joyride.

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 6+
Based on 2 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCSM Screen Name... April 9, 2008

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... Continue reading
Adult Written bySpiff April 9, 2008
Kind of a weird book...
Kid, 10 years old October 21, 2009


it was kinda weird seeing mickey nude
Kid, 11 years old September 20, 2009


Kinda Iffy when it showed Mickey naked. Honestly...

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?

Book details

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate