In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak: Book Review

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Cover of In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

4 Stars

Young Mickey hears a noise deep in the night and finds himself falling into the Night Kitchen, where he has to help the cooks get the milk into the batter.

What a fun little book! I never read much Sendak when I was little for some reason, so this was completely new to me. The illustrations were tons of fun, of course. The kitchen is set against a “skyline” of boxes of cake mix, tall salt shakers, and an elevated bread train. They’re perfectly whimsical for this book. I imagine children would love the story of little Mickey saving the day. I know I did! How much fun is it to imagine that only you can accomplish something important while the world, including your parents, is sleeping? It should also be a great book to read aloud. It’s short and to the point and rhymes just enough to roll off the tongue.

I highly recommend this one to parents with young children as a fun little bedtime story.


Apparently some parents and even librarians are/were upset that a few pictures depict Mickey nude. I was a little taken aback myself when I saw it and knew that had to be the reason the book shows up on banned/challenged lists. After thinking about it, I decided that most kids are probably going to giggle, think the book is even more fun, and move on. It’s perfectly innocent. Heck, if I want to get all analytical, we can talk about Mickey shedding his normal life of pj’s and bedtime for the more illicit, and therefore more enjoyable, world of being up in the night and saving the day, all things kids probably aren’t supposed to do. It represents freedom to them, even if they can’t articulate that.

View an excerpt.

Buy In the Night Kitchen at

photo credit: Old Books by Petr Kratochvil

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site. My opinions are completely my own.

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