For better or worse, one of our family favorites. Just weird enough to be a dream...but then again, aren't so many children's books just that?
I love Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are, but this book was so strange and left me feeling uncomfortable. The little boy yells at noises, slips out of his clothes and gets put into the cake batter by three of the scariest looking bakers I have ever seen. The whole story felt like an acid trip with no sense or meaning. I am a great believer in using one's imagination, but I did not understand this book and if I were a little kid I would feel frightened by it. I did not find the illustrations to be pleasing either.
Would I recommend this book? NO
I went into this one completely unaware of the "controversy" surrounding this silly book. To be honest, I think the whole being baked in bread thing is weirder/creepier than showing a little five-year-old kid dreaming about having an adventure sans knickers. And he's only naked for like five pages! The rest of the time he's wearing a cake-batter snowsuit, for goodness sake.
When I first read this book to my 2 year old daughter, I thought it would be a little weird for her but I was wrong - she absolutely loved it! She asked for this book every night and quoted every page. The offbeat rhymes and illustrations of Mickey's adventure in his dream captivated her imagination. Thank you Mr. Sendak for a great book. RIP.
This is the 61st of a series of titles selected by writer Yann Martel to provide to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to encourage an appreciation of the arts and literature in particular in the PM, and to also help him with his stillness and thoughtfulness. Martel has regularly sent books from a wide range of literary traditions to Harper. Martel has devoted a Web site to the reading list and his kind and considered covering letters with each volume. Martel has never received a direct acknowledgement from Harper, and only recently some fairly form-letter responses from Harper's staff. He has, however, received a response (although not directly related to one of his book selections for Harper) from Industry Minister Tony Clement.
Martel's meditation on both Where the Wild Things Are and In the Night Kitchen, both written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, is very moving, especially in light of his (Martel's, that is) very recent new fatherhood. All of his letters can be read at http://www.whatisstephenharperreading.ca/.
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