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Banned Book Review: In The Night Kitchen

November 17, 2005

25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Reason:  Challenged for nudity and offensive language.

Ohmigosh!  Little boy penis!  In a kid’s book!  WON’T SOMEBODY PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!?
That’s right.  The little boy in this book is drawn naked.  With a penis.  From the moment I saw the drawing, I knew that this was the reason that this book was being banned.  Because of a drawing.  This book is done by the author of Where The Wild Things Are and is done in much the same style.  The child falls into a nighttime world of nocturnal cooks, huge jars of milk, and planes made of dough.  The rhymes are very sing-song and easy to recite with young children.  The text is large and simple, in stark contrast to the complex artwork.  The story itself is surreal and definately dreamlike.  The offensive language part is a little confusing, as I can’t recall any words in this book that you wouldn’t mind saying in front of your 3 year old.  If you are squicky about showing your child pictures of naked children, you probably won’t want to give this book to your child.  However, if your toddler is the type to run around naked as often as clothed, this is the perfect book.  Recommended for 4-8, but would probably go over just as well with a bright 2 or 3 year old.

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