In the Night Kitchen Book Poster Image

In the Night Kitchen



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.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

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

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


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

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

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 11 years old September 20, 2009


Kinda Iffy when it showed Mickey naked. Honestly...
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bySpiff April 9, 2008
Kind of a weird book...
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 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.