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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic good literature for children
My three year old son has heard this story at least once a week since he was born. He is not tired of it yet. Neither am I.
The illustrations are reminiscent of 1960s children's advertisements, and are positively gorgeous! The cityscape made of kitchen containers and cooking utensils stimulates children's imagination and makes for a dreamy, innocent background to...
Published on Aug. 14 2003 by Joy Scri

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Strange story, awkward writing, and so so illustrations
I am not writing this to be "shamed" by other reviews, but I would like to offer some comments (i.e., opinion). . .
I would have to agree with the other reviewers that this story can be difficult to read. My wife and I are still trying to figure out the "rhythm" of the story. This is difficult because our daughters have little interest after the first 2-3...
Published on July 31 2002


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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic good literature for children, Aug. 14 2003
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Hardcover)
My three year old son has heard this story at least once a week since he was born. He is not tired of it yet. Neither am I.
The illustrations are reminiscent of 1960s children's advertisements, and are positively gorgeous! The cityscape made of kitchen containers and cooking utensils stimulates children's imagination and makes for a dreamy, innocent background to the charming story.
Some parents will no doubt fixate on the fact that Mickey is naked and has a penis (gasp!). If you are the parent of a little boy this should not shock you. If you are not the parent of a little boy, you are surely aware that boys do in fact have these things. I cannot understand why this one aspect of the book creates such controversy.
The cadences of the story are fun, and children are likely to take up chanting "Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter!" as they become familiar with the story. My son loves to say the words with me as I read, and the marching rhythm of the story makes it easy for him to remember.
It's a fun, silly book sure to become a favorite in your child's library.
As a sidenote, The Nutshell Kids collection has a video version of this, which is very good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic good literature for children, Aug. 14 2003
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Hardcover)
My three year old son has heard this story at least once a week since he was born. He is not tired of it yet. Neither am I.
The illustrations are reminiscent of 1960s children's advertisements, and are positively gorgeous! The cityscape made of kitchen containers and cooking utensils stimulates children's imagination and makes for a dreamy, innocent background to the charming story.
Some parents will no doubt fixate on the fact that Mickey is naked and has a penis (gasp!). If you are the parent of a little boy this should not shock you. If you are not the parent of a little boy, you are surely aware that boys do in fact have these things. I cannot understand why this one aspect of the book creates such controversy.
The cadences of the story are fun, and children are likely to take up chanting "Milk in the batter! Milk in the batter!" as they become familiar with the story. My son loves to say the words with me as I read, and the marching rhythm of the story makes it easy for him to remember.
It's a fun, silly book sure to become a favorite in your child's library.
As a sidenote, The Nutshell Kids collection has a video version of this, which is very good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My daughter adores this book even if I don't., June 14 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Hardcover)
I didn't want to give this book five stars. I fought against it, because I don't particularly enjoy the book. The illustrations aren't that attractive to me and it took me a while to get used to the rhythm of the words.
Having said that, I give this book five stars because my daughter LOVES this book. I sometimes have to hide it at night because I'm so tired of reading the "Mickey" book. Apparently Sendak knows an awful lot about what children like and how their minds work, because my daughter seldom tires of the story. (Her favorite part is when Mickey takes the measuring cup and goes up and up over the Milky Way.)
I'm honestly a little surprised over the "nekkid" controversy. It's not like the boy is drawn in explicit detail! My daughter's seen boy babies getting their diapers changed, so the concept of a penis is HARDLY frightening/startling/damaging to her. Geez, lighten up people!
Also, for those who were complaining about the concept of cake for breakfast, why don't we consider how many American children get French toast, pancakes, donuts, poptarts, or sugar-coated cereals for breakfast? Hardly nutritionally superior to cake, so I'm not lying in bed at night obsessing about the poor nutritional messages this book is sending to my child. :-)
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5.0 out of 5 stars My son loves it!, Feb. 20 2003
By 
Cher (Reno, nv United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Hardcover)
I discovered this book by accident a few months ago, and picked it up when I noticed that it was a Caldecott Honor Medal winner. I read through it and found it confusing, yet interesting.
My three-year-old goes through 2-3 week periods in which he has a favorite story that must be read every night at the end of our reading time. Lately, it's been "Where the Wild Things Are." So, tonight, I decided to begin the evening with "In the Night Kitchen." My son was transfixed by this story. He immediately wanted me to read it again. To the logical, adult mind it makes no sense. It didn't surprise me at all to read that previous reviewers were reminded of a drug trip. But from my child's point of view, it was a fantastic story. His eyes never left the pages, and he frequently nodded or exclaimed, wide-eyed, with mouth open. I found the rythym and cadence of the words, and it flowed very well.
If you find the book odd, just think of the words to the countless nursery rhymes that you've recited and loved so many times over the years. There are quite a few that make no sense at all! At least, not to grownups:)
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Surreal Classic, Jan. 17 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Hardcover)
This is a crazy childrens book about a boy named Mickey, who we first meet attempting to go to sleep in his bed. However, a racket below his room prevents him from falling asleep. After asserting himself and yelling at whoever is making the noises to keep quite, he falls out of bed. He falls through the dark of his house, out of his pajamas, and ends up falling right into a bowl of cake batter in the night kitchen (a dream inspired city, with buildings made of food products), where three fat bakers make the "morning cake." The bakers mistake Mickey for milk, and mix him into the batter along with other ingrediants. After thoughouly stirring him in the cake, the bakers put the bowl of batter in the oven. Luckily, Mickey pops out and jumps into a pile of bread dough. He fashions an airplane with it, and takes off determined to get the bakers milk. It just so happens that one of the buildings is a giant milk bottle. Mickey dives in, and pours some real milk into the cake below him. With everything straightened out, Mickey jumps off the milk bottle and floats back into his pajamas and into bed, where he finally falls asleep.
This is a weird story that may seem strange to adults, but all kids seem to love. On the whole, if you're tired of reading the same old story to your kids each night, this is the book for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars God Bless Milk and God Bless Me!, Oct. 6 2002
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Hardcover)
Maurice Sendak is one of my very favourite children's authors and illustrators. However, I wasn't introduced to "In the Night Kitchen" until my husband insisted we buy it for our child. He loved it when he was a kid and loves it still (by the way, and this may be irrelevant, he's a great cook).
The story is about a little boy whose dream takes him to the Night Kitchen where the bakers are making the morning cake. The bakers have a glitch and Mickey is able to come to the rescue. And of course, Mickey is the reason why there are delicious things to eat in the morning (hooray for Mickey).
The whole idea of bakers working in the wee morning hours creating yummy things for our breakfasts is an intriguing idea and one that isn't talked about very often. However, those croissants, bagels, and delicious pastries are made in "Night Kitchens" the world over. This book, besides being entertaining, is actually educational.
The illustrations are vivid and are reminiscent of big cities (like NYC). The style is bold and engaging. Yes, Mickey is nude sometimes but I don't feel the drawings are graphic. Unless you have strong feelings against any portrayal of nudity, don't let that put you off. The book is certainly is worth a read (and you can always preview it before you share it with your kids). You may love it as we do.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Strange story, awkward writing, and so so illustrations, July 31 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Hardcover)
I am not writing this to be "shamed" by other reviews, but I would like to offer some comments (i.e., opinion). . .
I would have to agree with the other reviewers that this story can be difficult to read. My wife and I are still trying to figure out the "rhythm" of the story. This is difficult because our daughters have little interest after the first 2-3 pages.
The illustrations are not as colorful or lively as many other books and I think that may be why our daughters tire with this story so quickly. Also (I may be wrong about this), it appears the story was originally written for a British audience. I think the concept of bakers making "cake" for breakfast is foreign to most Americans.
The boy in the story falls asleep and falls out of his clothing. Whether you find this to be a good or bad thing should be a personal choice, not a topic requiring a public discussion about a reviewers concepts of obscenity, morality, ethics, etc. Our daughters think the fact that he is naked is funny and calls this the "nakey book." Regrettably, this is the only aspect of the story that she finds interesting.
Sendak has written some very imaginative stories that children have loved for years. If you are looking for your first Sendak book, check the library, look at a bunch of his books with your kids, and then buy those that they find most interesting. After all, our kids don't care how popular an author is or what other adult reviewers are saying, they simply want an engaging story. Who knows, "Night Kitchen" may be your child's favorite!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Huh?, April 12 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Paperback)
I discovered this book when I was in the first grade. I love and adore fantasy and imagination, and the more fantasy and imagination in a book the better, but when I saw THIS particular book I stared at it in bewilderment, thought "HUH?" and gave it a perplexed backward glance as I left my school library. To this day, it still provokes the exact same reaction. Ok, I acknowledge that it's supposed to be a dream and all, but even so this book is weird even by the standards of children's literature and one can't help but wonder if Sendak had been eating some kind of funny mushrooms or something toxic while creating it. First of all, why is Mickey naked? It makes absolutely no sense, and even his genitalia are fully exposed. I've been wracking my brain on this issue for years only to finally come to the conclusion that there's no reason on God's green earth why he should be naked except that--for reasons unasked--Sendak found the idea entertaining. Also, who ever heard of having cake every morning? I've never heard of such a practice. And even though the ending credits Mickey as making it possible to "have cake every morning" the book gives every indication that the bakers have been carrying along just fine doing it themselves for a long time now. The book is full of stupid weirdness like that. I can't begin to tell you how little sense it makes. And why on earth did it win an award, for pete's sake? I'll never be able to figure this title out no matter how I try.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greats, Jan. 20 2001
By 
S.M. (Seattle, WA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Paperback)
Maurice Sendak is highly regarded as one of the best children's books writers/illustrators of all time. This is praise that, quite frankly, is an understatement. He does not censor, he doesn't condescend, he doesn't force them to enjoy the stories and he doesn't tell them what to think. In IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN, he salutes the wonderful things he loved as a boy. Born in 1928 in Brooklyn, he grew up on Mickey Mouse, silent comedies and Winsor McCay. He distinctly remembers seeing an ad for the Sunshine Bakers that said "We bake while you sleep" that highly interested him. You'll notice that the three bakers in the book are all Oliver Hardy clones and the "Mickey Cake" has early "Steamboat Willy"ish lettering. The book is easy to follow in a simple comic-bookish format and doesn't fear to tell the truth about the assorted genitalia of little boys. I'm surprised the publishers allowed this marvelous treat to get out to the public, but I'm also very, very glad.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting but Controversial, June 29 2000
By 
Reginald D. Garrard "the G-man" (Camilla, GA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: In The Night Kitchen (Hardcover)
"In the Night Kitchen" is a most unusual children's book. Sendak's flair for the extraordinary and the absurd is continued throughout this particular tale. As is common with most of his books, Sendak's artwork is cartoonish and captivating. Mickey resembles boys in other books by the author/illustrator. The three bakers bear a striking resemblance of Oliver Hardy of Laurerl and Hardy fame. Contemporary readers may not recognize this, but the friendly faces on the three will be comforting for the young child.
This is an obvious fantasy for it appears that the events in the story occur in Mickey's dreams. Even though this is not directly stated, the initial setting in the boy's bedroom and the final return there verify that conclusion. Children may wish to believe that the events actually happened and should not be criticized for such thinking.
The illustrations dominate the book withan accompanying "lyrical" text which adds to the enjoyment of the reading.
The one complaint is the anatomically correct illustration of Mickey when he lost his clothes. There are four respective frontal and rear views of a nude Mickey. The necessity for this is unclear for it neither adds or detracts from the story line.
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In The Night Kitchen
In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak (Paperback - Jan. 25 1996)
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