A Look into Maurice Sendek's 'In the Night Kitchen'

The book gained controversy for the beloved children's author

Everyone best knows Maurice Sendek (1928 - 2012) for his childhood classic, Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963. What most people don't know is the children's author also took on a food-themed adventure in his 1970 book, In the Night Kitchen.

The story follows a boy, Mickey, who dreams that he falls into a magical place -- the night kitchen. In this kitchen, bakers try to bake him into a cake -- using him as an ingredient -- but he is able to escape with his plane made out of dough.He flies into the air to get the bakers their morning milk for their cake, and slides down the milk bottle back into his bed. 

Why so much controversy in the story? Shots of Mickey naked -- with nothing covering his private parts. As a result, parental groups rushed to ban the book. An interview with the Republican in 1999 (recently republished), shared that Sendek when he moved to Connecticut from New York because of his health. He said by using objects that recreated childhood memories, he aimed to find the "youthful impression that many good things happened while he slept." 

Take a look at the illustrated short film In the Night Kitchen below as we reminisce about our favorite Sendek stories.