It’s night and Mickey is in bed trying to sleep when he hears a strange noise. After shouting for silence, the young boy falls through the dark. He leaves his clothes behind and goes into the night kitchen where three cheerful bakers are trying to bake a cake to eat in the morning. Mickey is mistaken for the milk and is baked into the cake. He has to pop out of the baking dough and tell the bakers that he doesn’t want to be bake. That starts Mickey’s adventure to the Milky Way in search of milk. The story of Mickey and his nighttime dream sounds a little strange right?
But did you know that this book is a banned and frequently challenged book? It’s number 21 on the American Library Association’s list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books. The reasons: nudity and offensive language. Now I get the nudity part. Mickey loses his clothes when he falls in the darkness and spends a few pages totally naked. The offensive language part I really don’t understand. There’s nothing offensive about the book. The nudity is pretty innocent.
As with all banned and challenged books, I think this is another tale of adults reading too much into the story. In the Night Kitchen is not a book for adults, it’s a book for kids. I read this book last night to my five year-old who loved it. He didn’t notice the nudity at first and when he did, he laughed and kept going with the story. Dreams can be strange, Sendak knows that. Banning this book is even stranger.
Have you read In The Night Kitchen before? What do you think about it being a banned book?