Kenny's Window

Book review by
Peter Lewis, Common Sense Media
Kenny's Window Book Poster Image
Challenging book makes readers think.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this story is odd, demanding, and appealing. Readers must engage, rather than be passive.

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What's the story?

This story from the sly and indirect hand of Maurice Sendak, of dreams and expectations and what we really want, will give kids plenty to chew on. Sendak rarely plays a full deal: Some of his cards remain hidden, some reference of background material is left unspoken, which demands that readers participate directly with the story to complete the picture.

 

Is it any good?

This is a challenging book from Maurice Sendak, one that really makes the reader think, whether one reads it alone or aloud. The questions posed by the rooster require latitude in thinking, but also fairly specific answers. This releases a flood tide of questions about perception and imagination. It can also release the dreaded "whatever" response -- as emphatic as "boring!" -- such as it did from a group of 7-year-old students who were discussing the book.

The artwork has a similarly fugitive quality, as wistful as a painting by Chagall but without the color to command attention. Perfect for the book, if not a crutch for those who need something to keep them going. The skills and qualities of patience, free thinking, and attentiveness are conveyed through the medium of dreams and imagination, but readers will have to dig for the connections.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about -- and come up with their own responses -- to one of the questions posed to Kenny: Do you always want what you think you want?

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