A Look Into Maurice Sendak's 'In the Night Kitchen'

The book created controversy for the beloved children's author

Maurice Sendek was also known for his children's book, In the Night Kitchen.

Everyone best knows author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who died today, for his childhood classic Where the Wild Things Are, published in 1963. But less people know that 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 around the story? Illustrations 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 1989 (recently republished) shared that Sendak wrote the book when he moved to Connecticut from New York because of his health. He said that by using objects that recreated childhood memories, he aimed to find the "youthful impression that many good things happened while he slept." Plus, he said, he remembered New York as "a place to eat all kinds of food."

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