In the Night Kitchen

13 07 2012

Maurice Sendak’s most famous book is Where the Wild Things Are is one of my all time favorite picture books.  I love the illustrations.  I love the message.  I love Max, the character in the book, and his imaginative spirit.  It’s a great book and deserves its place on the top of dozens of best picture book of all time lists.

In the Night Kitchen is a whole different ballgame.  I honestly don’t get it.  It’s so close to WTWTA in spirit and tone, but it’s light years away at the same time.  Night Kitchen is about a boy, who goes to sleep in his room, gets sucked through the bed and the floorboards, somehow losing his pajamas and his underwear, floating down into a kitchen where three of the creepiest, hugest, serial-killer-smiliest looking bakers are making bread for people who like bread in the morning.

The little naked boy falls in the batter, ruining it (I think), but saves the day because he makes an airplane out of bread dough, flies around the kitchen, sky dives into a giant bottle of milk, and helps the the giant, creepy bakers by pouring milk out of the bottle his naked butt is swimming around in – into the batter.

I don’t get it.

The illustrations are nice.  I like that the kitchen looks like a cityscape made from food boxes and jars, but did I happen to mention the bakers are insanely creepy?

I don’t understand the story.  I have no idea what happened.  I assume that the adventure was a dream, but to me it’s one of those dreams you should keep to yourself, because everyone else will think you’re insane if you share it.

In the Night Kitchen was the 40th book I’ve read this summer.  I’m closing in on the halfway point in my mission to finish 90 books in 90 days.  

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