Spotlight: In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Why has this book been challenged?

The objection to this book is the nudity of Mickey, the main character.  Some have stated it is gratuitous.  Also, it could be taken as the first step to using pornography in the future.

Summary of the Book

Mickey is in bed when he hears noises.  He yells for the noises to stop, tumbles out of bed, loses his clothes and falls right into the night kitchen where the three bakers bake cakes for the morning.  The bakers mistake Mickey for milk and mix him with the other cake ingredients.  He helps them get the milk to bake the cakes and thereafter we all have cakes in the morning. 

What did I think of it?

It was a silly story but probably won’t be something that stays with me.  I didn’t like or dislike it.  This is probably a good book for me to read with my nephews.  Younger kids will like the rhythm of the words.  Each page has detailed drawings.  I was much more interested in the buildings than in Mickey’s nudity.  The buildings have kitchen utensils on them and words commonly found in pantries on the containers of baking ingredients.  They are very fanciful.

Did you ever read this book as a child or read it to your children?


  1. Not only did I read & review this for Banned Books Week, but I also read this to both of my little girls, and they loved it. Even the seven-year-old who is going through a time of extreme modesty right now had no issue with Mickey’s nudity. I think the book was cute & tastefully done.

  2. With infrequent contact with kids, I sometimes think I can be off base so it’s good to hear what your daughters thought.

  3. My daughter chose this book from the library when she was three or four years old. We like Maurice Sendak and own a couple of his books. I appreciated the illustrations, but it wasn’t one of his best stories. It was more entertaining than some of the books she’s chosen from the library though, and neither my daughter nor I found it offensive in any way.

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