Children's Lit Book Reviews

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

In The Night Kitchen
By: Maurice Sendak
Publisher: Harper Collins
Copyright: 1970
Pages: 40
Reading Level: 4-8
Genre: Picture Book/Adventure
Award: Caldecott Honor Book

" The story of Mickey's nighttime adventure in the bakers kitchen is 'a highly original dream fantasy (with) deliciously playful illustrations (and a) chantable, easily remembered text. Pure delight for young children."
Booklist editors

Summary: When a young boy named Mickey falls asleep, he finds himself awakened by a ruckus from noises that appear to be coming from below him. He then begins to float out of his bed, and all of his clothes suddenly begin to fall off as he drifts into a dreamland. He then falls into a giant mixing bowl that contains the batter for a morning cake. While Mickey is buried in the cake mix, three bakers begin to mix the cake mix and prepare it for baking while they are unaware that Mickey is inside the mix. As the bakers are about to place him into the "Mickey oven", Mickey pops out and claims that he is not the batter milk saying, "...I'm not the milk and the milks not me! I'm Mickey!" Then Mickey decides to put together an airplane made out of bread dough to reach the mouth of a gigantic milk bottle. Using the plane, he flies up to the bottles opening and dives into it. He then swims to the top of the milk bottle and begins to pour the needed milk down to the bakers who joyfully finish making the morning cake. The bakers then exclaim out of excitement and joy, "...Milk in the Batter! Milk in the Batter! We bake cake! And nothing's the matter..." With the dawn breaking, Mickey begins to "Cock-a-Doodle Doo" like a rooster signifying that it is morning and slides down the bottle only to return to his bed, with everything back to normal beyond the happy memory of his experience and hungry for some morning cake.
Who would benefit from reading this book?: This short story provides readers with a taste of Sendak's imagination. Put together with some rhyme and a unique blend of illustrations, this book is a must read for all ages. The readability is easy, even a four year old can enjoy it.
What problems/conflicts would this book potentially cause? : One main problem that has been a concern for parents over the last several decades and has ruined the persona of this book is the fact that Mickey eventually spends some of the time in the book naked. On a website, it was said that in many librarys throughout the United States parents would be found drawing pants on the naked Mickey. This has been a huge controversy and it has been flagged as an inappropriate book. Therefore many teachers and or parents might be hesitant to share this book with children.
My reaction: I liked the book and thought that it had an interesting and exciting storyline. The illustrations really showed Sendak's love for art and resemble a comic book with his illustrations. Even though there are some controversies with the book there is no question in my mind as to why this book is a Caldecott Honor Award winner.
posted by Jon Dale at 5:23 PM


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